Barrick and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) are co-funding a unique, World Vision-led project to improve economic and social development in the district of Quiruvilca in rural northern Peru.
The main goal of the project is to help local authorities convert mining revenue into sustainable development initiatives that help diversify the local economy. Barrick and CIDA are each contributing C$500,000 over the life of the three-year project, which runs through December 2014. Barrick’s funding will support the income-generating activities of the project, while CIDA’s funding will support government capacity-building activities.
“Barrick has had a long-standing relationship with World Vision that has helped improve the lives of thousands of people in the communities neighboring our operations in Peru,” says Aaron Regent, Barrick’s President and CEO. “We are very pleased to be working again with World Vision and co-funding this important new project with CIDA.”
The project is the third collaboration between Barrick and World Vision in the last eight years. Previously, Barrick contributed a combined US$2.3 million for two separate World Vision projects that provided aid to impoverished families living near Barrick’s Pierina and Lagunas Norte mines. In particular, those programs helped build the capacity of mothers and community leaders to address urgent health needs of children living in rural areas in Peru, where chronic malnutrition affects five out of every ten children.
“This initiative will support the people of Quiruvilca, particularly women, youth and people with disabilities, in their efforts to achieve long-term sustainable development,” Regent says. “It is another example of how the public and private sectors can collaborate with communities to maximize the benefits of mining.” The latest project stands out in several ways, including the increased level of cooperation between stakeholders and the effort to create an initiative that ensures the community has a strong voice in how mining revenues are allocated.
“One of the key differences in this project is the process through which income-generating activities are being selected,” says Onome Ako, Program Manager, Resource Development and Collaborative Innovations at World Vision Canada. “The community will be intimately engaged in the process and have input into what activities they would like to see done or where they need capacity development.”
An important element of the project will be the work of a government-led steering committee, which will develop an economic plan and evaluate income-generating projects financed through loans and grants from a community investment fund. The committee will be comprised of representatives of Barrick, World Vision, local government officials and community members. In addition, community groups will be strengthened to ensure residents have a say in policy planning and project implementation. Women, youth and people with disabilities will comprise a significant portion of these groups, as well as the steering committee, ensuring their interests are represented and that they benefit from income-generating initiatives supported by the project.
“I believe that sustainable economic growth in developing countries is the most effective way to reduce poverty over the long term,” says Bev Oda, Canada’s Minister of International Cooperation. “In Peru, our partnership with World Vision Canada and Barrick Gold will increase the income and standards of living for nearly 1,000 families by leveraging the economic impact of local mining operations into community development projects.”
Because the project involves such a high level of collaboration between the private sector, non-governmental organizations, government and the community, a catalogue of best practices and lessons learned will be developed and shared through networks such as the Devonshire Initiative, the CSR Center of Excellence and similar networks in Peru.
“The project is different from what we’ve done in the past in the degree of collaboration between stakeholders,” Ako says. “The process was more hands-on and there was more engagement between all parties to understand the actual needs of the communities and develop a project based on those needs. We’re all equally excited about the launch of the project and to see the results.”