The Bugundo Medical Centre
In September 2011, African Barrick Gold (ABG) announced the creation of the Maendeleo Fund, a community development fund that will contribute to a wide range of sustainable development projects in communities near ABG’s operations in Tanzania, as well as national initiatives.
The fund is the largest corporate community development fund of its kind in the country. Its $10 million annual budget more than tripled ABG’s annual spending on community development.
Since being unveiled, the Maendeleo Fund has allocated the majority of its initial $10 million budget. The funding will support numerous sustainable development initiatives. For instance, the fund is contributing $290,000 for the expansion of the Bugundo Medical Centre in the city of Mwanza. The 900-bed facility is one of the largest referral and teaching hospitals in the country, serving a population of about 13 million people. ABG’s contribution will help build two new surgical theaters at the Centre and pay for a new endoscopy machine.
“We greatly appreciate this assistance, which will markedly improve the surgical care for our patients,” says Dr. C.R. Majinge, Director General of the Bugando Medical Centre.
At the local level, the fund is providing $390,000 for the construction of a new health clinic in the village of Mwendakulima near ABG’s Buzwagi mine. The facility will serve as an outpatient clinic that provides treatment for minor medical matters to more serious illnesses, such as HIV/AIDS and malaria.
The fund will also provide $120,000 for the construction of a kitchen and mess hall at the Busoka High School, an all-girls school in the village of Busoka near Buzwagi. A separate $120,000 contribution is being made to the Chapulwa Primary School in the village of Chapulwa near the mine. This investment will be used to repair existing classrooms, and build three new classrooms and two new teachers’ houses.
“Education is one of the vital ingredients for community development, and we believe that our strategic investment will create an opportunity for the youth in our communities to attain skills that will be useful not only to ABG but for the country at large,” says Stephen Kisakye, Community Relations Manager at ABG.
Another project supported by the fund is the construction of water boreholes in the seven villages near ABG’s North Mara mine. To date, 16 boreholes have been drilled, and pumps are currently being fitted on them, Kisakye says. The fund has allocated $800,000 for the project.
Anyone interested in applying for funding from the Maendeleo Fund can find information and application forms on ABG’s website.