THE USAID funded Fostering Accountability and Transparency in Zambia (FACT Zambia) programme has launched a project aimed at increasing citizen awareness and engagement on the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) mechanism in Zambia.
The FACT-EITI project which was officially launched by North-Western permanent secretary Ephraim Mateyo last week would work with local civil society organisations (CSOs) in collaboration with the Zambia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (ZEITI) for enhanced public awareness and improved partnerships in the districts of Kasempa, Solwezi and Kalumbila, and Kitwe, Chingola and Mufulira districts on the Copperbelt.
To ensure effective stakeholder engagement in delivering the planned objectives, the FACT Programme’s EITI interventions would be implemented in partnership with the ZEITI secretariat in the Ministry of Mines; Civil Society for Poverty Reduction (CSPR), Zambia Extractive Industry Transparency Alliance (EITA), and the Panos Institute Southern Africa.
Africa regional director for Counterpart International, Mutale Chilangwa, emphasised the importance of the initiative in complementing government efforts and civil society to ensure that the mining sector contributes to national development.
“The skillset gained from the implementation of this project will contribute to the development of Zambia, even after the project,” said Chilangwa. “The project will endeavour to complement efforts of government and civil society to contribute to improve service delivery in Zambia. We are grateful for the support we are receiving from various stakeholders.”
Mateyo said the FACT EITI project was in line with government efforts to ensure that the prudent use of natural resources contributes to sustainable development and poverty reduction.
“I am glad to note that Counterpart International and their partners are building upon already existing efforts to empower residents in mining host communities, to strengthen transparency and accountability in the mining sector, to ensure local communities participate and benefit from mining activities,” Mateyo said.
The project is aimed at supporting civil society oversight in public service delivery and enhanced citizen awareness and engagement on the EITI mechanism in Zambia. The initiative is responding to the following three main objectives:
Increase capacity of CSOs to use the ZEITI for improved fiscal transparency and service delivery at national and community level; expand citizen awareness of ZEITI, the mineral value chain and revenue sharing for district-level services; deepen government engagement with civil society around ZEITI monitoring and implementation.
To achieve the above objectives, the FACT project partners will employ a vast array of interactive and participatory community driven approaches to expand citizens awareness of the Zambia EITI mechanism, and to contribute to increased access to simplified, easily and usable EITI information.
The launch was essentially to introduce the project to key stakeholders from the provincial government, the district authorities, the mining companies operating in these locations and the affected communities.