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Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), 2014/10/15 - “Women face an array of challenges in the mining sector. I am, however, very encouraged by the creation of a national “Women in Mining” association,” says Kaleba Ngoie-Kasongo, Executive Director of the Hear Congo organization - iPAD-Katanga.com.
Mrs Ngoie-Kasongo is a speaker and chairperson during the upcoming Katanga Mining Week conference and expo in Lubumbashi from 28-29 October, particularly focusing on the corporate social responsibility of the mining industry.
Some 1000 participants are expected at the fifth edition of this annual event which is the only international mining event for the DRC’s Copperbelt region.
Says the Hear Congo director: “In 2007, I founded Hear Congo with the primary mission to rebuild the shattered lives of women and children in the DRC and to see them become agents of change, central actors and beneficiaries of their own physical, educational and economic development. We are currently involved in several projects. One of the projects, in Lubumbashi, is a literacy program that Hear Congo helped launch with a partner organization Alfalit International.”
Challenges women face in mining
DRC-born Kaleba says she had the privilege to travel around the country and assess the working conditions of women and children in artisanal and small-scale mining. She believes the challenges that women face in this sector include “sexual violence and abuse in the mines, risk of HIV/AIDS and other STDs due to prostitution, health risks due to lack of sanitation and gender discrimination whereby they do not receive equal pay or opportunities.”
She says the creation of the national “Women in Mining” association RENAFEM initiated by the Congolese Government with the support of World Bank and the European Union is encouraging: “through this national network, stakeholders work jointly to disseminate laws on the participation and protection of women in the mining sector. Clearly such programs will promote sustainable development in the mining industry in DRC.”
During the upcoming Katanga Mining Week in Lubumbashi, the Hear Congo Director says she will share her message of “creative collaboration”. She explains: “as mining operators are working closely with local communities to participate in the development of DRC and the Katanga area, creative collaboration at all levels is key to foster long-term development.”
More conference speaker highlights include:
• Moise Katumbi Chapwe, Governor of Katanga Province;
• Simon Tuma-Waku, Vice-President DRC Chamber of Mines;
• Audax Sompwe, Minister of Mines, Katanga Province;
• Oscar Melhado, Country representative, International Monetary Fund;
• Representative, Gecamines, DRC.
Prior to the Katanga Mining Week, the 10th edition of the iPAD DRC Mining & Infrastructure Indaba takes place at the Fleuve Congo Hotel in Kinshasa from 22-23 October.
Both events are organised by Spintelligent, leading Cape Town-based trade exhibition and conference organiser, and the African office of Clarion Events Ltd, based in the UK.
Katanga Mining Week dates and venue:
Conference and expo: 28-29 October 2014
Site visits: 27 October 2014
Conference venue: Grand Karavia Hotel - Lubumbashi