Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe says over 100 000 are set to benefit from the Nhakiwa Vocation Training Centre (VCT) it is financing under the Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe Community Trust and the project was nearing completion.
BY OUR STAFF
Speaking at the VCT in Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe on Tuesday, Lafarge human resources director Precious Murena Nyika said the first phase of the construction works at VCT under the Community Share Ownership Trust (CSOT) was nearing completion with students enrolment expected in the first half of 2015.
“In 2013 Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe developed a special vehicle plan and pledged $3 million which allowed the company to contribute to three separate CSOTs in local community areas namely Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe, Goromonzi district and Mabvuku-Tafara. The company, in the same period disbursed $1 million, which among other projects culminated in the commencement of construction works in Nhakiwa VCT,” Nyika said.
“Upon completion, the centre will benefit a population estimated at 112 611 and offer technical skills in carpentry, glass joinery, metal fabrication and steel processes, building and brick laying, horticulture among others in support of the government economic empowerment drive.”
She said the establishment of the centre was largely aimed at equipping youths with technical skills and in the process reduces high unemployment levels estimated to be at over 80%.
Nyika said the construction works at Nhakiwa VCT started in August 2014 in partnership with the Zimbabwe Defence Forces which is providing free labour and the technical expertise in the project.
“The first phase of the project included the construction of two classroom blocks, ablution facilities, an administration block, staff houses on 16 hectares of land allocated to the project by the UMP Rural District Council. The project also provided employment to over 30 local community members as casual workers,” she said.
Nyika said the community empowerment drive was also in sync with the Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe 2020 Sustainability Ambitions and Corporate Social Responsibility which hinges on the implementation of corporate policies and practices that enhances social and economic development of the communities surrounding the company’s operations.
On the update of the other Community Share Ownership Trusts, Nyika said Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe also financed the implementation of community projects ranging from the construction of clinics, classroom blocks, a youth horticulture training centre and water provision in the area under the Goromonzi CSOT.
Over 20 boreholes have been drilled to support a population estimated at over 50 000.
She said in the same community, a Youth Horticulture Training Centre named Chinyika was under construction with the objective of developing a learning facility that will equip local youths with agriculture skills and create employment for the local community.
The project is implemented in partnership with a local Non-Governmental Organisation, Young Africa which is offering technical training expertise.
Nyika said the Mabvuku-Tafara CSOT was in its infancy in terms of implementation. A board of trustees for the CSOT was now in place and has been trained to manage the community development projects.