Kagem Mining and Gemfields Foundation, the charitable arm of Gemfields, the majority owner and operator of Kagem Mining, have unveiled a state-of-the-art solar-powered computer lab and a new block with three classrooms at Kapila Primary School in Lufwanyama, Zambia.
The project, costing approximately ZMW 6.9 million (USD 316,000), is a significant leap forward for education in the region, positioning Kapila Primary School among the few institutions offering computer lessons.
The handover ceremony, attended by local community members, pupils, school board members, and senior government officials, marked the culmination of the project.
Notable attendees included Lufwanyama’s District Commissioner, Mr. Justin Mwalikwa, Lufwanyama’s Council Secretary Ms. Linda Mapara, and Lufwanyama’s Educational Board Secretary, Mr. Silvester Mukanda.
Representatives from Kagem and Gemfields Group, Mr. Sean Gilbertson (Gemfields CEO) and Mr. CV Suresh (Kagem’s Managing Director), also participated.
Mr. Edward Kapandula, representing Lufwanyama’s Member of Parliament Hon. Kenny Siachisumo, highlighted the government’s commitment to free education, resulting in increased enrollment at Kapila Primary School from 201 to 342 students over the past year.
He emphasized the crucial role of infrastructure, such as the new classrooms and computer lab, in accommodating the growing student population.
Lufwanyama’s District Commissioner, Mr. Justin Mwalikwa, commended Kagem for its sustained efforts in building modern infrastructure and enhancing service delivery in education and health sectors.
He recognized Kagem’s commitment to educating the youth, emphasizing the company’s contributions to constructing and renovating schools, classrooms, and staff houses.
Gemfields Corporate Responsibility Director, Edward Johnson, highlighted Kagem’s focus on efficient emerald mining and its role in contributing to Zambia’s development.
He expressed that the company’s success enables them to build schools and employ more people.
Kagem’s Head of Corporate Responsibility, Lomthunzi Mbewe, underscored the company’s dedication to education, stating that Kagem believes in contributing to the development of future employees and leaders by supporting current learners.
The solar-powered computer lab, she added, marks Lufwanyama’s first step towards a digital future, running on clean energy with access to high-speed internet.
Government representatives expressed their commitment to implementing an e-learning management system, aligning with the guidance in the 2024 budget presentation by the Ministry of Finance.
This initiative aims to ensure easy access to online teaching and learning materials across the country.
Kagem has allocated ZMW 68.1 million (USD 3 million) to corporate responsibility programs in health, livelihoods, conservation, and education in Chapula, Kapila, Masasa, and surrounding areas.
Last year, Kagem renewed its partnership with Copperbelt University (CBU) and the University of Zambia (UNZA), committing to new scholarship programs totaling ZMW 7.83 million (USD 345,000).
Additionally, Kagem signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Zambia in September to fund the construction of the Chapula Vocational Training Centre in Lufwanyama, estimated to cost ZMW 52.75 million (USD 2.5 million), further demonstrating its dedication to local education and skills development.