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Thanks to the Maisha Farm coop, created by 47 project members, 118 families involved have improved their year-round food security. Currently, the farming yield covers 100% of their yearly subsistence needs. Moreover, 89% of the women who joined the cooperative quit the mines and some of them started individual revenue generating activities, such as selling vegetables, to improve the income of their family.
The skills training program enrolled 160 girls and 65 women. Each had been engaged in unsafe jobs in the mines; many were forced into commercial sexual exploitation there. The girls trained at the Economic Empowerment Center in competency-based tailoring skill development and in catering/food production now earn an income - an average $180 per month. Many now use their earnings to pay for their school exams. Furthermore, the project provides community sensitization activities on gender equity and women’s rights and offers family counselling and support to victims of abuse/violence.
The program provides children with access to informal education and 1 meal a day, leading to a malnutrition rate of less than 4%. Some 1,100 children (Orphans or Vulnerable and all engaged in different forms of work in the ASM) have been enrolled and 91% of them stopped working in mines as a result. A total of 193 children were reintegrated into the formal school system and are monitored to ensure continued participation. The Centre functions as a referral centre for abuses on children and women and has assisted in the prosecution of over 70 cases of violence, neglect, sexual abuse and early arranged and forced marriage. The Centre has worked intensely to prevent violence and human rights abuses within the community through education on child protection and positive parenting, counselling and psycho-social support to the families.
A solid group of 1,294 women, 625 girls and 7 men are regularly involved in human rights awareness raising, that includes advocacy work and lobbying the local Government and mining companies for better living conditions. The voices of women were broadcasted widely recently when they participated in a radio program promoting education and the end of child marriage. The lobbying effort with government officials has already produced results, including the installation of a new generator (benefitting 5,000 households), the construction of 5 schools (1,500 children) and the digging of a well (3,000 residents).
Until 2017 the project mainly focused on the mining community of Kanina, on the immediate outskirts of Kolwezi, serving more than 5,000 people. Thank to its positive and tangibile impact on the lives of hundreds of families and to its effective management system, the Good Shepherd program is now considered a good practice for eradication of child labour in the artisanal mining on a local and national level. After a preliminary research to better understand the needs of the families, in 2018 Good Shepherd (Bon Pasteur Kolwezi) will start a new 5-years plan aimed at extending the child protection model to 6 new artisanal mining communities within 30 km. from Kolwezi, involving about 23,000 people from Mukoma, Kapata, Musunoie, Kasulo, Kabamba, Katapula, where human rights of children, girls and women are systematically violated.