Community activists to help monitor the environment
|Posted by Administrator (admin) on Dec 22 2010|
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The Bench Marks Foundation has successfully completed the year-long training of 19 community activists drawn from the country’s platinum and gold mining communities in the Limpopo, North West and Gauteng provinces.
This initiative by the Bench Marks Foundation aims at developing the capacity of local communities in monitoring the actions of mining corporations and government while encouraging them to take action when they indentify destruction of the environment and the undermining of community life by the mining companies.
The community monitors use online blogs, Facebook and other new media channels as a mechanism for feedback to the Bench Marks Foundation and the world about the situation in their communities and also for networking with each other.
Eric Mokuoa, a spokesperson of the Bench Marks Foundation’s monitoring project said, “Our objective is to see communities taking charge of their environment and being more aware of what’s happening and getting involved.
“We believe that change should come from the grassroots, from the communities themselves because they are directly impacted on by the actions of mining corporations and government.”
This is the second group to graduate from the project which was set up in 2009. Last year’s pioneering group is still actively involved in this vibrant community monitoring project.
The Bench Marks Foundation believes that this project will play a key role in the empowerment of mining communities that are often at the receiving end of unscrupulous practices by mining corporations as they don’t know their rights and feel helpless.
“Making corporations accountable is to do with government formulating the right policies and making rules which ensure that the policies are implemented. But we know from our experience that corporations don’t always work within the rules.
“Making corporates accountable is not fully possible without the active monitoring and collective action of the larger community and in particular, the action of the people who are directly affected by corporations,” said The Rt Rev Dr Jo Seoka, the chairperson of the Bench Marks Foundation.
The recently trained community activists are based in the platinum mining villages of Rustenburg, Magobading and Sterwater-Gapila in Limpopo, the townships of Sebokeng and Bophelong in the Vaal and the gold mining areas on the East Rand.
Bench Marks Foundation is an independent organisation monitoring corporate performance in the field of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) with the focus on social sustainability and economic empowerment. The organisation encourages CSR that goes beyond reporting mechanisms and focuses on the gap between policy and practice, thereby assisting civil society groups and corporations to move beyond philanthropy to more strategic interventions that benefit both the corporations and society. Central to Bench Marks’ agenda is how CSR is integrated into companies’ operations and ensuring that it is at the core of every decision making process.
Last changed: Dec 21 2010 at 11:03 PMBack