Through a new – and empowering – social responsibility initiative, Montepuez Ruby Mining (MRM) will supply seven communities, in the region of Namanhumbir, surrounding its mine, with 150 bicycles. These bikes will be allocated to the local people by the first week of March 2020, with priority given to those who work for the good of the community, from leaders and mobilisers to sports association representatives.
The name given to this environmentally friendly rural mobility project is ‘Namanhumbir oholo’, which means ‘Namanhumbir advances’ in the local language, eMakua, and its effect on the lives of local people is expected to be truly transformative. In rural areas of Mozambique, riding a bike is much more than just an act of leisure: it is a vital means of transport, providing citizens with access to drinking water, schools and training centres and allowing them to bring their products to sell at local markets. It was with this in mind that MRM decided to support its local community in this way, giving them the means to – quite literally – move positively forward with their lives.
One of the beneficiaries of the project, Jeremias Benjamim, who is 45 years old and a member of the Natural Resources Management Committee of Namanhumbir, said: “This is a very welcome project, for which we are all very grateful. These bikes will reduce many of the challenges that we face: they will improve communication by allowing for easier interaction between committee members and communities and the quick exchange of messages. They will also improve medical provision by making it easier to get an ambulance to transport patients.”
Some communities will get to choose their own beneficiaries for the bicycle scheme – and these lucky recipients will, in return for their wheels, voluntarily contribute to local initiatives.
Bernardete Pereira, Community Liaison Officer at MRM, sums up the significance of this new endeavour, saying: “This project provides us with another important opportunity to address social issues in the area surrounding MRM’s concession. Transport in these communities is a very real problem, and we want to make a positive contribution to addressing it by providing a solution that is both practical and ecological. These bikes, whilst essentially a simple mode of transport, will have a major impact on business, communications, health and even education, boosting the common good of communities and their local economy.”