Newmont Ahafo Development Foundation (NADeF) is the corporate social responsibility arm of Newmont Ghana Gold Limited’s Ahafo Mine, established in May 2008. It was formed to drive sustainable development in affected communities following exhaustive stakeholder consultations.
NADeF operates in ten Ahafo Mine host communities – Kenyasi No.1, Kenyasi No. 2, Ntotroso, Gyedu and Wamahinso in the Asutifi North district; and Yamfo, Susuanso, Afrisipakrom, Terchire and Adrobaa in the Tano North district. The Foundation’s vision is to “Ensure communities achieve prosperity and self-reliance’. It rides on a mission of empowering communities through grants, knowledge-sharing, partnership and capacity building to achieve sustainable development.
The Foundation draws its funds from annual contributions by Newmont, comprising US$1per ounce of gold produced and 1% of annual net pre-tax profit from the Ahafo Mine. As part of Newmont’s annual contributions to NADeF, provision has been made for investment in an endowment fund – with an increasing proportion over the life of the mineere10% in the first five years and 5% increment after every five years to be used after closure of the mine.
As at the fourth quarter of 2017, contributions to NADeF was approximately GH¢58.3million. An amount of GH¢52million has been spent/committed for projects and operational plus capital expenses. The areas of NADeF’s support are: human resource development (24%), infrastructure (23%), economic empowerment (17%), social amenities (16%), cultural heritage (12%), natural resource protection (4%) and sports (4%). The operation of NADeF is in line with attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Highlights of NADeF’s projects include the establishment of two health training institutions: the College of Nursing, Ntotroso and College of Health, Yamfo; a Bamboo Bike factory at Gyedu that employs 37 people; and over 115 completed infrastructural and social amenities. About 8,053 tertiary and senior high/technical school students have also received scholarships.
All the ten host communities have Sustainable Development Committees (SDCs); the SDCs are made up of selected stakeholders in the various communities. The committees, among others, are responsible for liaising with the community to take decisions on how to utilise their shares of the Fund. This mode of operation has largely ensured that if not all, the majority of projects initiated by NADeF correspond with the people’s needs.
Nana Kwame Yeboah, Kenyasi No.1 Apesimakahene who is also the community’s SDC Chairman, in an interview said: “In the last ten years, NADeF has been the engine of development and innovation in this community. All public schools in Kenyasi No.1 have fully-furnished ICT laboratories, thanks to NADeF. It has established a multi-purpose social centre that generates income for the community, as well as a well-constructed community football park and a befitting Chief’s Palace that is only second to the Manyhia Palace in the country.
“NADeF has started construction of a Police training-school that will be the first of its kind in Brong Ahafo. The NADeF scholarship has produced many graduates in a community which hitherto was among the poor academic-performing towns in the country.” The chief proposed replication of NADeF’s SDC system at the District Assembly level to ensure efficient utilisation of resources to the benefit of all.
On his part, Mr. Richard Osei-Adrobaa SDC Chairman, said: “NADeF has transformed education and healthcare, especially provision of infrastructure in our locality. Previously, there was no accommodation for teachers at Sibiriso; they were refusing posting to the area because they had to trek 3km from Adrobaa to the village, but NADeF has constructed teachers’ quarters in the community to address challenge there. The Foundation has constructed a maternity ward at the Adrobaa health centre to improve maternal healthcare delivery”.
One of the flagship interventions by the Foundation is a micro credit and startup capital loans programme under its economic empowerment programme. This is NADeF’s contribution toward attaining SDGs 1 & 2 – alleviating poverty (no poverty) and zero-hunger. In a country where interest on loans is over 30% and compounding ‘stringent’ terms of repayment suffocating businesses, it is refreshing to note that NADeF Micro Credit Fund however offers business-friendly conditions. The interest rate is 10% on the principal with a six to seven months repayment period. As at December 2017, over 1,753 people had been empowered with the economic ability to provide for their families. Eleven youth groups received capital loans to start up their businesses after apprenticeship.
37-year-old Akua Afriyie is a roasted plantain-seller at Kenyasi No.1: “I used to trade at a galamsey site but my life turned sour after the clampdown on illegal mining. I was therefore rescued by NADeF’s micro credit; four years ago, NADeF assisted me with GH¢600 to supplement my GH¢400 as startup capital for a provisions-shop. I subsequently received GH¢1,500 and GH¢2,000 to open up the business. Profit from this shop has been the lifeblood of my family, especially for the education of my two children”.
In the area of providing quality education, NADeF in 2015 launched a US$3.5million ‘Quality Improvement in Basic Schools (QUBIS)’ project. The five-year project is in line with the SDGs Goal 4, which seeks to ‘encourage inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all by 2030’. The project among others provides: teaching and learning materials to schools; offers micro and management grants to schools and education directorates; school infrastructural development; and in-service training for teachers and establishment of school-based ICT centres.
In 2017, twelve motorbikes were supplied to the Asutifi North and Tano North Education Directorates to enhance monitoring by Circuit Supervisors (CSs). Mr. John Bosco Yamoah, Head of Supervision, GES-Asutifi North, had this to say: “Provision of the motorbikes coupled with other support has really improved monitoring by the CSs as well as teaching and learning, translating into improved academic performance. The CSs were unable to reach out to communities with unmotorable road networks”.
Since its inception, the QUBIS project has also awarded 19 teachers from the two districts for their outstanding performances. The awards scheme has ignited healthy competition among the teachers and motivated them to step-up their work for recognition. Capacity building for head-teachers, teachers, CSs, PTA and other stakeholder groups has equipped them to better appreciate their responsibilities in achieving the set goals.
Nana Michael La-Odame, Tano North Municipal Education Director, commended NADeF for its interventions in education: saying various initiatives by the Foundation have contributed to improve academic performance in the Municipality. The general pass-rate for BECE candidates in the area was formerly around 45.2%, but the interventions have helped to improve it – pegging 2017 statistics at 75% he stated.
The Education Director urged NADeF to provide more reading and other supplementary materials to pupils, as well as increase the frequency of mock-examinations to prepare BECE candidates. He also appealed for more training workshops for head-teachers and teachers to further build their capacities, especially in modern trends of teaching.
Speaking at the last annual general meeting, Monica Nkrumah-Chairperson of NADeF Board of Trustees said: “As a growing community Foundation, the issue of funding becomes a challenge at some point in time. NADeF experienced a drop in its funding from Newmont Ghana Gold Limited due to low production figures, which adversely affected activities and project implementation. This is a reality that we need to consider as we think about the Foundation’s future and its activities”.
Many mining communities have endured the resource-curse, but with NADeF Ahafo should be able to avoid that trend which prevails in the country. After ten years of remarkable operations and its rich potential for contributing to sustainable development of the Ahafo mining communities, it is imperative for stakeholders of NADeF to explore all available opportunities for raising funds to sustain the Foundation beyond the lifespan of Newmont Ahafo Mine.