Eurasian Resources Group extends its Agreement with the Fondazione Internazionale Buon Pastore Onlus
Eurasian Resources Group (“ERG” or “the Group”), a leading diversified natural resources producer, is pleased to announce its further support for the work of the Good Shepherd Sisters (“Good Shepherd”) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (“DRC”) and their multi-dimensional programme through a three-year Framework Funding Agreement (“Agreement”) with the Fondazione Internazionale Buon Pastore Onlus.
Good Shepherd is implementing a community development programme in Kolwezi in Lualaba Province, DRC. The goal of this programme is to help break the cycle of violence and abuse against children, women and girls in artisanal mining communities and improve their living conditions. Good Shepherd is particularly focussed on supporting children who work in the mines and are involved in the worst forms of child labour.
ERG is one of the largest copper and cobalt miners in Africa and, while neither child labour nor artisanal mining form part of the Group’s operations, ERG recognizes the role that it can play in supporting positive change for local communities.
On 19 January 2017, ERG announced a Funding Agreement with Good Shepherd to support their Alternative Livelihood work throughout 2017. The new Agreement significantly expands the partnership and will run for approximately three years. It provides funding for a range of projects supporting all aspects of the Good Shepherd’s programme: Alternative Livelihoods; Child Protection; Economic Empowerment; Citizenship Strengthening; and Capacity Building. ERG Africa, a subsidiary of ERG, will lead the efforts of the Group through the Safety, Health, Environment and Community (SHEC) team under the direction of Dr Loes Schalekamp.
Speaking with ERG representatives at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD’s) recent Forum on Responsible Mineral Supply Chains in Paris, Sister Catherine Mutindi, the Good Shepherd Programme Director in Kolwezi, said, “We are pleased to see ERG extending our agreements so we can provide more stable support to local communities in the DRC. By supporting all objectives of our work, ERG enables us to develop a balanced programme helping children, women, and the broader community”.
“Good Shepherd believes that corporations can play a crucial role at a global and local level in supporting dignified development for all and promoting business practices that are respectful of human rights. Transparent and cooperative collaboration between business and civil society, as recommended by the UN Guidelines on Business and Human Rights, can deliver transformative and integrated community development and contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Mr Benedikt Sobotka, Group CEO of ERG, said: “I am excited to see this multi-year programme come together. We are fortunate to be able to partner with Good Shepherd to promote critical issues like child protection, women’s rights, and the development of alternative livelihoods. The potential for impact here is very high, and I expect the projects funded and progressed under this agreement will leave a positive legacy for many years.”
Sr Mutindi concluded: “In the past five years we have brought 1200 children, girls and women out of life-threatening work in the mines and contributed to setting up alternative livelihood opportunities for hundreds of vulnerable people. This agreement with ERG enables us to continue and strengthen our programme, which will bring lasting benefits to local communities.”
To learn more about the Good Shepherd Programme in Kolwezi: http://www.fondazionebuonpastore.org/congo/#film