GAC is committed to building strong and productive relations with the Government and people of Guinea. As part of its social license to operate, GAC works continually to improve the quality of life and living standards of those surrounded by and affected by its operations. Diverse initiatives have been and are being developed and implemented via the support of local and international services providers including NGOs, contractors, consultants and local government services. These initiatives fall into several broad categories and include:
GAC recognises the value of a skilled Guinean workforce and is committed to delivering long-term social and economic benefits to Guinea through both employment (including self-employment) and training programmes.
Examples of work in this area include:
- Local Worker Enhancement Programme – In partial fulfilment of its employment and training requirements, GAC has initiated a Local Worker Enhancement Program. The goal is to fulfil its commitment to the Government of Guinea by developing leaders and supervisors amongst Guinean Nationals. Since 2008, a sustainability Management Program has been implemented to provide employment opportunities to those in nearby and surrounding communities. Eighty such individuals are currently employed by a Guinean Construction Company contracted to GAC.
- Vocational Training – Since 2011, more than 450 youths have received training at the Boké Vocational Training Center (CFP Boké). The first group of 95 youths was trained to operate heavy trucks and machinery with subsequent groups focusing on artisanal and trade skills. GAC is confident that this skills enrichment program will allow more youths to secure employment in Guinea’s rapidly expanding mining and construction industry.
Trainees receiving their certificates
- At village level – Multiple training and adult literacy projects are being implemented to address the needs of craftsmen and women engaged in diverse income-generating activities.
Whilst employment will provide some measures of economic relief, a larger proportion of the local population will be required to find alternative means of subsistence and livelihood. GAC has therefore also initiated several independent projects that cater for the long-term sustainability of the unemployable population.
These range from access to micro-credit via a microfinance institution called MUCREPAG (80 displaced women from Kamsar), through to projects to improve the productivity of the livestock and agriculture for the majority of the affected villages, to the introduction of new income-generating activities or micro-community projects.
GAC recognises the limited number of resources available to the Government of Guinea to support community development, living conditions, education, health services and infrastructure. GAC believes that a healthier and better educated mainstream population will add to economic growth and long-term development within Guinea. With this in mind, GAC continuously invests in community infrastructure, health and safety, and education projects.
GAC ENHANCES FOOD SECURITY THROUGH AGRICULTURE
GAC has assisted in the development of farmlands for two resettled villages, namely Touldé and Petoun Djiga. The GAC Community team has been involved in helping farmers complete preliminary work for the project which included weeding, staking and hole digging. The team also provided mineral supplements and vital equipment for developing and managing the farmlands along with a total of 1,250kg of fertilizer to improve yields.
A total of 1,774 mango, orange, avocado, banana and palm trees were planted on approximately 17 acres of land in Touldé and 7 acres in Petoun Djiga.
GAC is improving agriculture in affected villages
Since 2006, six health centres and nine primary schools have been built and equipped by GAC for local communities in the Kamsar and Sangaredi regions.These health centres enable local communities to have easy access to health facilities and the schools enable more than 3000 students access to better education. In addition, a secondary school and a health centre have been renovated and extended, and 22 community wells have also been developed over the same timeframe.
Since 2009, in line with the National Guinean Programme of “Lutte contre le SIDA” and “Lutte contre la Malaria” and in collaboration with the Chamber of Mines of Guinea, HIV/AIDS and Malaria Prevention projects have been implemented throughout the villages in the GAC concession area and in Kamsar. Thousands of mosquito nets are distributed annually, leading to a significant reduction in serious malaria cases according to reports from the Public Health Authority in Sangaredi. A recent study amongst the concession population confirmed an increased awareness of HIV, its transmission and prevention.
GAC school projects for communities
In addition, basic training has been provided for villagers in first aid, hygiene and maternal health. A key focus area is Ebola, where GAC has provided financial support for UNICEF’s efforts to develop an awareness program to curb the spread of Ebola in Guinea and education to local communities. GAC contributed to increase facility capacity in Kamsar: cabins to enable the World Health Organisation (WHO) to manage the ebola crisis.
Symbolic Presentation of Ebola Medical Kits (from left to right) GAC CEO: Mr William Morrel, Unicef Country Director: Mr Ag Ayoya, Guinea’s Minister of Health: Colonel Dr Remy Lamah and Guinea’s Minister of Social Affairs: Mrs Sanaba Kaba.
GAC has built a bridge over the Kewewol River that has changed the lives of local communities by facilitating travel to other villages and enabling easier access to agricultural ground and markets to grow to sell their crops.
To find out more about the community projects please check our Sustainability section.