FQM scores with launch of football and netball leagues Firm on target as it continues to strengthen grassroots sport in its communities
SOLWEZI, ZAMBIA – First Quantum Minerals has reaffirmed its commitment to supporting sport at grassroots level by setting up football and netball leagues for communities around its Kansanshi Mine.
The firm has pledged to play a vital role in investing in strong training programmes in youth sports, increasing accessibility and developing talent in the country for years to come.
The mining company believes that securing a firm foundation for sports will not only lead to high performance but can also contribute to improved community health through physical activities as well as teaching youths how to lead healthy lifestyles early in their lives while staying away from alcohol and drug abuse and teenage pregnancies.
“It is for this reason that we have, through our Kansanshi Foundation, launched grassroots football and netball leagues, which we are calling the Farmers League, where villages from communities around Kansanshi Mine compete against each other. In addition, we have also donated football kits to our 20 teams in the Farmers League in Kambeu, Kamitete, Kyafukuma, Kalubamba, Kawela, Kabulobe and Mbonge,” said Kansanshi Foundation supervisor Maximillian Katanga.
He is optimistic that talent scouts from the big teams will be at some of the matches to look out for promising players.
Mr Katanga said: “One thing we have realised is that there is a lot of hidden talent around the villages, which is just waiting to be discovered. We want to ensure that this flair is exposed so that other clubs can come in and select players to be part of their teams.
“We are very sure that it is going to help the growth of football and netball in the country. We are also organising training for coaches, referees and team captains, so that the tournaments that they are holding are well organised.”
The company has aligned its community initiatives with every one of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a move that puts it at the forefront of best practice in private sector social investment, both locally and globally.
Through its Kansanshi Foundation in Solwezi, the firm has stepped up its campaign to end poverty, fight inequality and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind in the communities where it operates.
“We are supporting our youths by giving them inputs for vegetables, maize and other crops that they are growing so that they can have an income and in the afternoon, we want them to have some leisure time to relax and have fun. Football is one of the activities we have introduced and on certain evenings, they have a movie night. We don’t want young people to indulge themselves in activities that are not good for them, but instead provide them with events that will keep them happy, entertained and fit,” added Mr Katanga.
The foundation has also re-introduced sports in schools as part of a broad programme aimed at improving the quality of education in Solwezi. FQM believes a good education does not just cover academic subjects, but also offers opportunities for all students not only to learn the life skills engendered by participation in out-of-class organised activities, but to also refresh themselves from their studies.
“Among the sports activities we have introduced are football and netball competitions that run on an area league basis culminating in district championships. The foundation provides full sports kits to the 25 schools in the programme, trains coaches and carries all costs of the competitions,” Mr Katanga said.
FQM has spent over US$43 million on its sustainability and community development programmes. The overall objective of its socio-economic development programmes is to improve the quality of life for its employees, their families and their immediate communities.