By Jane Gondwe
A youth group based in Livingstonia area in Rumphi District, Rise for Phoka, has urged youths in the district to play a role in enhancing good governance in the mining sector.
In an interview with Mining & Trade Review, Director for Rise for Phoka Kondwani Msyalie said it is important to engage the youths in promoting good governance in mining sector because they are the majority and are the pillars of the nation therefore if empowered and supported they can help in the development of the potential sector.
“Mining is one of the potential sectors to grow the economy of our country and solve the challenges that the country is encountering such as shortage of foreign exchange through the export of mining products and electricity shortages through utilization of energy minerals. Therefore, there is the need for the youths to be taking part in promoting transparency and accountability in this significant sector,’’ said Msyalie
He also urged the government to scale up sensitization activities for the youths in mining and natural resource issues so that they are empowered as watch dogs in different communities where mining and exploration is taking place.
“It is high time the youth got interested in the development of this sector,” he said.
He said his group will work on mobilizing the youth in the District to sensitise them on mining issues so that they are able to demand their benefits from mining projects in their respective areas.
Principal Group Village Head Chidiwo from Jungu Bluegum village in Livingstonia said in an interview participation of the youths in mining issues is of significant importance since the youths are faster leaners and can easily take their place in respective mining communities as opinion leaders on extractive issues.
“As a traditional leader, I support this initiative by Rise for Phoka. I therefore urge the government and other stakeholders in the mining sector to train these young men and women on mining processes,” he said.
A member of the group, Walekire Mayolera, agreed with Chidiwo on the importance of training the youth in mining issues saying lack of knowledge on mining projects investors are pursuing in their respective areas breeds misunderstanding between investors and the rural communities which affect development of the projects.
‘’There cannot be sustainable development and achievement of the Malawi Vision 2063 without involving the youths, therefore we ask the government and donors to support us,” said Mayolera.
Rise for phoka also says it is ready to work with other civil society organisations including Youth in Mining Association in promoting good governance in the sector.
The group which started in November 2019 operates in Traditional Authority Kachulu and its members include youths from 16 villages.