Govt gives out K15m to Kabwe Cooperatives

By Paul Shalala

Government, through the World Bank funded Zambia Environmental Mining Remediation and Improvement Project -ZEMRIP, has disbursed 15 million Kwacha to 53 cooperatives formed by former illegal miners in Kabwe.

The illegal miners used to quarry for Lead and Zinc at the closed Kabwe Mine but are now running small businesses in poultry production, piggery, farming, carpentry and retail trade.

ZEMRIP Kabwe Project Coordinator PATSON MWIINGA says the cooperatives were funded with an average of 250,000 Kwacha so that they can run businesses away from exposure to Lead at the closed mine.

Mr. MWIINGA has told ZNBC News in Kabwe that the businesses are running successfully and the funding has saved many people from continuous exposure to Lead poisoning.

He says the project provided the funding as a way of taking illegal miners away from the mine which is a danger to their health

And one of the beneficiaries, OSLYN MAKWATI says her cooperative makes a minimum of one thousand two hundred kwacha per day from their restaurant business.

Ms. MAKWATI says her cooperative received 250,000 Kwacha from ZEMRIP which helped in buying kitchen utensils and renting a building where they operate the restaurant from.

She says selling in a restaurant is better than quarrying stones at the mine site where they were raising nine kwacha per day.

Meanwhile, a nongovernmental organization Environment Africa has intensified it’s remediation efforts in Chowa Compound which is hard hit by lead poisoning.

Environment Africa Project Officer MUTINTA HATIMBULA says so far, the organisation has remediated by placing geotextile material at 80 houses in Chowa State Two to prevent the spread of lead.

Ms. HATIMBULA says her organisation is particularly concerned about children who are more vulnerable because they play where Lead particles are found.

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