African Barrick Gold’s Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Deo Mwanyika speaks at the launch of the Maendeleo Fund in Dar es Salaam as Ambassador Juma Mwapachu, an Independent Director of ABG, and Stephen Kisakye, ABG Community Relations Manager, look on.
African Barrick Gold (ABG) is tripling its community development spend in Tanzania, announcing the launch of the Maendeleo Fund, which will have a $10 million annual budget to fund projects that improve the quality of life in communities where ABG operates.
The fund is the largest corporate community development fund in Tanzania, where about 36 percent of the population lives below the national poverty line, according to the latest information available from the World Bank.
“The launch of the Maendeleo Fund highlights the focus and ongoing commitment that ABG directs towards community development in Tanzania,” says Ambassador Juma Mwapachu, independent non-executive director of ABG. “In keeping with this, we are also interested in exploring partnerships with third parties that have expertise at delivering sustainable community investment.”
The fund will incorporate ABG’s current annual community development budget of about $3 million, giving the company the resources to broaden the scope of current projects and undertake ambitious new initiatives. Investments will focus on community development, health, education, environment, water projects, skills and training programs, and will include support to non-governmental organizations with demonstrated capacity to deliver on community development initiatives.
“The Maendeleo Fund seeks to promote a comprehensive community development strategy that will harness synergies across our operations in Tanzania,” says Deo Mwanyika, Vice President, Corporate Affairs at ABG. “The fund enables us to consider funding for a diverse range of projects to contribute to socio-economic development and strengthen the communities where we do business.”
While community projects will be the primary focus of the fund, there will also be an opportunity to support national development initiatives. ABG will be meeting with various stakeholders to gauge areas of national priority.
As part of ABG’s commitment to corporate social responsibility, the fund will also finance various philanthropic initiatives, donations, sponsorships, partnerships and other forms of support and public investment. One of the fund’s first disbursements was a TZS60 million ($37,000) donation to a disaster relief fund for families of more than 200 people killed when a ferry sank off the coast of Zanzibar on September 10. The donation was delivered to the Zanzibar government along with a message of condolence from ABG.
ABG is already receiving calls from many organizations with funding proposals. Information about how to apply for funding is available on ABG’s website.
Community investments in Tanzania
In the past three years alone, Barrick/ABG has invested more than $10.3 million in development projects in communities surrounding its operations in Tanzania. Below is a sampling of some initiatives funded by the company:
- Invested several million dollars in the construction of 10 primary schools and two secondary schools
- Invested $500,000 in a partnership with TANESCO, Tanzania’s national power utility, to bring electricity to the community of Kakola and surrounding areas near Bulyanhulu
- Committed $2 million to build a pipeline that will bring fresh water to communities near the Bulyanhulu mine — an initiative that will benefit about 150,000 people
- ABG and USAID jointly committed to funding a three-year, $700,000 program to deliver health care services to the community around the North Mara mine
- Led a program that funded surgeries for more than 700 children that helped correct congenital disorders, such as cleft lip, cleft palate and club foot
- Invested in a new clinic at the Tulawaka mine that provides primary health and maternity care for area villages and offers HIV/AIDS voluntary counseling and testing
- Established the Lake Zone Health Initiative, a public-private partnership to help combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. Tanzania’s Lake Zone spans seven regions and is home to nine million residents
- Partnered with NGO Bridge2AID and the Tanzanian government to increase access to emergency dentistry in rural Tanzania