FERONIA AND MASS DESIGN COLLABORATE ON SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECT IN THE DRC
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Nov. 20, 2014) -
Editors Note: There are two photos associated with this press release.
Feronia Inc. ("Feronia") (TSX VENTURE:FRN) and MASS Design Group ("MASS") are pleased to announce a new partnership to assess and redesign the social infrastructure underpinning Feronia's operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo ('DRC').
Feronia operates three palm oil plantations in remote parts of the DRC, the oldest of which was first established in 1911. Feronia directly employs over 3,600 workers and supports a wider community of approximately 45,000 people. The company's extensive social infrastructure includes staff housing, four hospital campuses, 17 clinics and dispensaries, nearly one hundred schools and assorted community spaces including markets, shops and outdoor communal areas. In many places, these are the only such facilities for hundreds of miles.
Feronia has now engaged pioneering design company MASS to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the plantations' existing social infrastructure and to engage with local communities in the development of new facilities which answer their everyday needs.
MASS has a proven track record of innovative design as well as considerable experience in Africa, including in the DRC. Its approach is to maximize the use of locally available materials and to develop skills amongst local people, encouraging community engagement and helping develop long-term employment prospects.
"When we acquired the palm oil business from Unilever we inherited a vast social infrastructure built over a period of several decades, all of it suffering from a lack of investment and much of it, despite the efforts of management and the communities, in a state of widespread disrepair," said Ravi Sood, Chairman of Feronia Inc. "We already have in place an extensive and ongoing maintenance and repair program but are well aware that, fundamentally, the schools, clinics and other facilities are outdated and require a complete re-think if they are to provide a safe, healthy and desirable environment in which to live, learn, and work. Appointing MASS Design Group is part of Feronia's long term commitment to improving the living and working environment of its employees and their communities."
"Investing in dignified infrastructure that will last for generations is paramount," said Michael Murphy, co-founder and CEO of MASS Design Group. "Feronia and MASS are committed to delivering that to the people in the Lokutu, Yaligimba, and Boteka communities."
MASS uses architecture to improve people's lives through designing and building infrastructure, research and training programs, and policy work. MASS immerses itself in the challenges its partners and their constituents face, and develops solutions that are contextually optimized. MASS believes the bare minimum is never acceptable, and goes to great lengths to ensure communities receive dignifying and beautiful built environment solutions.
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