PPC Barnet positively impacts local communities in DRC

A new technical training centre and a local farming project initiated by PPC Barnet are boosting employment and community economies in villages surrounding the cement plant.

These CSI projects are just two of a series being rolled out.

To empower communities where it has invested, PPC is partnering with stakeholders in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to positively impact communities in and around its new PPC Barnet plant. The team has worked with the community to understand the real challenges that needed to be addressed. “Skills development and employment were two critical issues identified,” explains Kabira Akoob, PPC CSI Manager. “The lack of basic skills among the youth contributed to the high unemployment rate.”

PPC Barnet has subsequently established a technical training centre in the area: Centre Formation Techniques (CFT).

The centre focuses on teaching engineering skills – a prerequisite for entry-level technical jobs in most factories.

Youth from Malanga, Zamba, Nkumba and Malanga Gare villages who have a high school certificate can apply to train there. The Centre provides free tuition, a meal and pays a small allowance to assist the students with general upkeep.

“Through this initiative, some graduates have secured permanent employment at PPC Barnet, others have started their own businesses and some have successfully found employment in manufacturing-related industries,” says Akoob.

She notes that while talent pool development is critical, it was equally important for PPC to assist the youth to develop skills that are universal and can be used in any industry, not only in the cement industry.

Thus basic life skills are also taught at the school, equipping the students for future careers.

A similar approach has been taken with PPC Barnet’s agri-farming project which, since its inception in June 2015, has seen over US$200 000 invested. The project has germinated over 10 000 seedlings, with ±3 000 already transplanted. These include indigenous trees that have been reintroduced into their natural habitat. The project will be expanded in future to assist with animal husbandry.

“PPC takes its role as a community enabler and partner very seriously,” says Akoob.

“While we are inspired by the commitment from the community, we’re excited about the impact they’re already making.”