Tati Nickel Mining Company’s Corporate Services Manager, Peter Meswele, revealed last week that the company will forge ahead with its corporate social responsibility programs despite the financial challenges that are a result of the global credit crunch. This emerged at a press briefing last week during which the mining company presented its quarterly operational results.
“Tati Nickel’s CSR program was introduced in 2006 as a means of reiterating our commitment to ensuring that the communities within which our company operates also benefit from our operations,” said Meswele.
He added that in line with their slogan, Tati Nickel Cares, they are committed to ensuring that Tati Nickel’s operations add value to the economy of Botswana through improving and sustaining the livelihoods of the communities within which they have been operating, with a view to doing business with them in future.
Initially a consultant was engaged to lay down the ground plan for the program and identify small businesses within a 50 km radius of the mine, who eventually became the beneficiaries if the CSR program. Preference would be given to small businesses in rural areas so that they can be sustainable and compete evenly with other businesses that are seeking businesses from the mine.
Meswele said at the briefing that Tati Nickel’s flagship project for this year is the Maths and Science results improvement initiative, which involves six junior secondary schools and one senior secondary school. The result improvement project is a people centered development initiative that is a joint venture between Tati Nickel and the Ministry of Education.
Phase one of the project commenced last year with a needs assessment initiative carried out at different schools, with focus on Math and Science. It culminated with Tati Nickel forking out P950 000 to benefit Shashe River School and six other junior secondary schools. The schools were provided with the latest Math and Science books, multimedia and security equipment, and also computers with internet connectivity.
To enhance performance and competitiveness among students, Tati Nickel also introduced a revolving trophy for most improved results in math and science, also as a way of gauging if their investment is bearing fruit. Phase one of the project is complete and cost the mine P1 million.
Phase Two of the project will involve the purchasing of computers with relevant Math and Science software to be used in Math and Science remedial classes. Last year, government officials from the Department of Secondary Education and Tati Nickel employees went on a familiarization tour to South Africa to learn about remedial centers for Math and Science subjects.
The benchmarking tour provided an in depth knowledge of how to make the project a success. Tati Nickel will provide the computers and software to be used by the students while government will provide classrooms for the remedial lessons. To make the project even more successful, teachers will also be trained on new skills.
Phase Two of the project is expected to cost P2 million.
Meswele said last week that Tati Nickel’s CSR program is focused on social and business development. The company also emphasizes on returns on the investments that it has made, and therefore goes a long way in assisting to ensure that its investments are always successful.
Tati Nickel is also constructing factory shells at Matsiloje, which will later be handed over to the village development committee. In the past Tati Nickel donated a P400, 000 mobile clinic to the north east district, which to date services villages which are not within the vicinity of the Matsiloje clinic.
The mobile clinic has a designated nurse who visits catchment areas on a daily basis to provide health services.
A doctor also makes weekly visits to consult patients in these areas. Government provides medication, syringes, bandages and other medical equipment while Tati Nickel provides the mobile clinic and caters for its maintenance and manpower needs.
Tati Nickel has also assisted members of the community to open up a tannery, a hair salon, a bakery and a public garden in Matsiloje and Matopi. The bakeries will have exclusive contracts to supply bread to the mine. Women from the local communities have also been empowered to run the mine’s canteen.
Proceeds from all these projects are the sole benefits of the community.