THE NORTH Mara mine operating in Nyamongo township in Tarime District has set aside 5.7bn/- for the implementation of a number of community development projects in 11 villages surrounding the mine.
The mine, through the community sustainability department, has spearheaded a project that has managed to establish village based development committees right from the grassroots level engaging the whole community in areas of implementations.
The North Mara Sustainable Communities Manager Richard Ojendo, told a gathering in Nyamongo that brought together stakeholders from all villages as well as representatives from the Tarime District Council over the week that the projects will be implemented in the 2019/20 fiscal year.
The projects, according to Mr Ojendo, include a ten-kilometer road that will be built to tarmac level right from the mine's headquarters to Kerende village that will ease movement of people as well as goods in and around the mining location.
''We have also encouraged youth from the nearest locations to form village-based self-help groups where they can access simple loans with zero interest so that they can engage in income generating projects and avoid criminal activities'', Mr Ojendo said.
He said last year, the mine gave about 900m/- to the youth, women as well as the disabled to enable them start small scale income generating activities by utilising the vicinity of the mining potential.
He said as of now incidents of mine invasion in search of gold sands had been reduced while the mine was engaging in discussions with the surrounding community whereby all projects that are being implemented were identified through local village gatherings.
Mr Ojendo revealed that over the past years, the mine had also implemented projects that include construction and rehabilitation of several lower and upper schools to which local communities can enrol their children in a reliable and conducive environment.
''This year we have focused on improving our relationships with both the communities around our mine and with the government, and as part of this, we have engaged more actively with the community, the media and with our stakeholders with the aim of becoming a partner of choice and to ensure that the surrounding communities benefit from our activities," he said.
He said much emphasis was put on investing in communities through Village Benefit Implementation Agreements, which provide for specific investments at North Mara to fulfill legacy commitments and also stressing that relationships with the government was a key area of focus and progress during the ongoing implementation year.
Lately, the North Mara mine has been strengthening relationships with the central government whereby pundits now believe the relationship is significantly stronger than in the past.
This is demonstrated by the improvement in the critical areas in which several laws were enacted to protect the interests of the government on a winwin situation.