Since launching its new community investment fund in September 2011, African Barrick Gold (ABG) has supported over 50 projects worth approximately $7.5 million, helping to improve quality of life in communities across Tanzania.
"We are delighted with the impact the ABG Maendeleo Fund has made over the past 18 months,” says Greg Hawkins, CEO of ABG. “We created the Maendeleo Fund as part of our commitment to promoting sustainable development in Tanzania and have already seen a tangible impact from our support of over 50 projects to date.”
In keeping with ABG’s objectives for its community investment programs, projects receiving support focus on strengthening community development and capacity building, including health, education, water and environmental projects in communities surrounding its operations. Furthermore, ABG pays all overhead costs for administering the Maendeleo Fund, which means 100 percent of the fund’s budget goes directly towards community projects.
“We remain focused on ensuring that our host communities benefit from our operations and I am delighted to confirm we have re-affirmed our commitment of $10 million to the Maendeleo Fund for 2013," Hawkins says.
To date, the Maendeleo Fund has committed more than $2.7 million to help improve public health in communities near the company’s mines. ABG’s investments support access to healthcare through a wide range of projects that build and strengthen local healthcare infrastructure and increase maternal and child health care. Other projects provide training to healthcare workers to deliver dental care, and support a range of initiatives aimed at combating malaria, HIV/AIDs and tuberculosis.
Supporting projects that increase access to education is another key objective of the Maendeleo Fund, which has committed approximately $1.9 million towards this key area. ABG’s core projects focus on increasing educational infrastructure, through building and renovating schools, the construction of teachers’ houses, providing supplies, such as books and equipment, and providing scholarships and training opportunities for students and teachers.
The Fund has also committed around $1.4 million towards the provision of clean water and sanitation services. One of the major projects has been around the North Mara mine in Tarime district, where ABG invested $800,000 to drill water wells that provide nearby communities with access to clean and safe drinking water.
The Fund has also invested around $1.5 million in over 10 projects that support development in the communities around ABG’s mines and the country at large. The projects strengthen capacity building initiatives and philanthropic donations. In 2013, the Fund will continue to work with local communities near ABG’s operations to identify and prioritize their current needs and objectives, and to ensure that community members lead and own the development process. The fund carries out broad stakeholder engagement and planning to ensure its activities are conducted in accordance with community needs and align with the government’s development focus.