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Gemfields Foundation to benefit communities and conservation

Gemfields is scaling up its community and conservation support in Zambia with the launch of a charitable foundation.

The Foundation is part of the company’s continued commitment to the responsible sourcing of coloured gemstones and will provide a formal mechanism by which to manage and scale-up new projects in sub-Saharan Africa that are designed to benefit local people and further vital conservation efforts.

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The Gemfields Foundation’s work is in addition to the economic contribution created by local employment, tax payments and foreign exchange generation.

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The move comes in response to increasing demand from prospective donors.

A decade into operating mines in Africa, Gemfields, who own 75% of Kagem in partnership with the Zambian government’s Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), has received numerous approaches from visitors expressing their interest in actively becoming involved in the communities they have visited.

Over the years, Gemfields and its subsidiary companies have facilitated several charitable initiatives requested by third parties and have provided both expertise and management to bring them to life alongside its core business activities.

Examples include a new classroom block for the Chapula primary school in Zambia, funded by a private individual and later extended by Kagem. To date, the Foundation has facilitated the gifting of footballs to primary school pupils and the creation of a toilet block at the Kapila primary school with generously donated funds from private individuals and expertise supplied by Kagem.

Gemfields Foundation is a UK-registered charity that functions quite unlike most charities: 100% of donor funds are directed, in full, to the underlying charitable projects. All overhead, administration, travel and management costs are borne fully by Gemfields Limited and its subsidiary companies.

The result is a charitable endeavour that enjoys, at no cost to donors, excellent in-country experience, personnel, infrastructure, support and community liaison teams, uniquely positioning Gemfields Foundation to deliver impactful projects in a highly efficient and timely fashion.

The Foundation is governed by an international board of seven trustees. The board is chaired by private wealth and family office executive Philippe Lamblin, who first experienced Africa in postings with the French Foreign Legion, realising he held a desire to help the local population in an efficient way during frequent visits to Chad.

“Having seen first-hand the difference Gemfields’ community projects have made to people’s lives and having witnessed the depletion of African wildlife within my own lifetime, it is clear that more must be done.

“Gemfields’ team has proven on-the-ground expertise in complex projects, and in offering up this skill-base, coupled with a commitment to cover overheads and managerial cost, our Foundation presents a unique opportunity for passionate donors.

“It is an honour to join forces with such dedicated and knowledgeable trustees to scale and accelerate our activations, bringing greater benefit to communities and conservation in Africa.” Emily Dungey, MD, Gemfields Foundation.

In Zambia, the company has spent more than US$2.7 million on community projects, including:

  • The construction and rehabilitation of Chapula Secondary School, in 2017, which has created opportunities for young people to receive secondary level education. The fully furnished and equipped school comprises ten classrooms, two science laboratories, a computer room, library, home economics laboratory and needlework room, an administrative block and two ablution blocks;
  • Rehabilitation of the 18.7 km road connecting Chief Nkana and Chief Lumpuma’s chiefdoms from Kandole to Kafwaya village in Lufwanyama district;
  • Construction of the Nkana Health Centre;
  • Construction of new buildings at Chapula Primary School;
  • Building of teachers’ accommodation at Kapila Community School;
  • Support for the Blessing, Kapila Green Farms, Twende and Twasanta agricultural projects;
  • Kagem’s USD 345,000 industry training initiative, which sponsors 12 students from the geological and mining engineering departments at the School of Mines at the University of Zambia (UNZA) and Copperbelt University (CBU) over a period of eight years;
  • Providing support to the Zambian Carnivore Programme since 2016, including projects in the nearby Kafue and South Luangwa national parks, both of which are home to large numbers of lions, cheetahs and wild dogs. Gemfields provides satellite collars for the lions, tracking their locations to identify when the pride may have come into contact with snares or poachers. Every collared animal is visited once a week, ensuring their safety and survival.