by Francis Owusu-Ansah, Ntotroso
The Newmont Ahafo Development Foundation (NADeF) has since 2008 sponsored the training of 698 health professionals made of 37 doctors, 22 pharmacists, 22 laboratory technologists, 539 nurses, 33 public health,45 physician assistants.
NADeF has also established two health training institutions; the College of Nursing at Ntotroso and the College of Health at Yamfo to further train health professionals for the country.
The foundation, which is the main driver of sustainable development in the Newmont Ghana Gold Ahafo mine’s host communities, has further sponsored the training of 348 engineers, comprising; 23 mining, 3 metallurgy, 69 mechanical,107 electrical, 24 geometric, 13 civil,5 architecture, 95 agriculture engineers respectively, 9 surveyors among others.
“NADeF has sponsored the training of 3,149 people in humanities and social sciences; comprising 1,207 educationists, 272 accountants, 16 lawyers, 29 human resource practitioners, 76 business managers and 1549 others in various disciplines”.
Mrs Elizabeth Opoku-Darko, the Executive Secretary of the Newmont Ahafo Development Foundation said this during a presentation ahead of a media tour of projects initiated and completed by the foundation. Some of the projects inspected included the Nursing Training School at Ntotroso, the Police Training School at Kenyasi No. 1, a three-storey lecture block for the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) Kenyasi campus
Mrs Opoku-Darko said NADeF has over the past fifteen years completed and handed over 153 infrastructure and social amenities projects to the Ahafo community.
The foundation has within the period awarded scholarships to 11,659 students at the tertiary and SHS levels as well as for apprenticeship training.
According to Mrs Opoku-Darko, NADeF has also established a Police Training School at Kenyasi I.
“An average of 70 skilled and unskilled community members are employed for six months yearly for construction of projects’ ‘, she said and added that “1782 community members have been supported with micro-credit worth GHc3,321,300”.
Mrs Opoku-Darko said an average of 15 local contractors are engaged yearly, with an average of GH¢8m being paid to local contractors annually.
THEMATIC AREAS AND RESOURCE ALLOCATED PERCENTAGES
NADeF has allocated resources to seven thematic areas in the following proportions; social amenities and infrastructural development-25%, economic empowerment-25%, human resource development-28%, natural resource management-4%, youth development-1%, sports-4% and cultural heritage-13%.
On his part, the chairperson of the NADeF board of trustees, Professor Yaw Ofosu Kusi, stressed the importance of NADeF as a community development agency. “NADeF has over the past fifteen years brought and continues to bring real change into the lives of Newmont’s Ahafo mine host communities”, he said and added that “Those efforts have become reference points for other companies within and outside the extractive industry in Ghana and beyond”.
He said the total income received from Newmont for the year 2022 amounted to GHc25,497,915 while the total expenditure on community projects was GHc13,471,847. “Fifteen (15) projects were completed at a cost of GHc7,511,932, while four(4) other projects valued at GHc5,739,898 are at various stages of completion”, he said.
Prof Ofosu Kusi said the year 2023 creates opportunities for NADeF to promote the economic sustainability objective of the Ahafo mine communities by implementing strategic projects that create employment for the teeming youth.
“We would also explore donor support and strategic partnerships that would ensure the sustainability of the foundation, and bring a positive impact to the Ahafo mine community”, Prof Ofosu Kusi said and also called for cooperation from community members to achieve more development.
OVERVIEW OF THE FOUNDATION
The Newmont Ahafo Development Foundation was established in 2008 following two years of engagements with the Ahafo Social Responsibility Forum (ASRF), a key stakeholder group of Newmont Ghana mine.
NADeF operates in ten Ahafo mine communities namely; 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 municipality.
The Foundation is funded through an annual contribution from Newmont comprising US$1 per ounce of gold produced and 1% of the annual net pre-tax profit from the Ahafo mine with an approximate contribution of GHc136,122,206 as of the end of December, 2022.
As part of Newmont’s annual contributions to NADeF, provision is made for investment in an Endowment Fund (with an increasing proportion over the life of mine-10% in the first five years and a 5% increment after every five years) to be used after the life of the mine.
Currently, the Endowment Fund investment stands at GHc63,405,611, consisting of an accumulation of 10% contribution in the first five years, 15% contribution in the second five years, plus interests accrued on both the endowment Fund and unutilized fund investments.
ROLE OF THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEES (SDCs)
They are a seven-member committee constituting representation from the traditional councils, youth, women, unit committees, assembly members, opinion leaders in Newmont’s host communities.
The SDCs liaise between the communities and NADeF secretariat, assess community needs and present to the District Assembly for development. They also write project proposals on community needs, organise and coordinate community meetings, monitor and supervise projects.
SDCs proposals capture the type of community project identified, location for project, Benefits of project, Sustainability and Monitoring key activities.
Mrs Opoku-Darko said to ensure sustainability of the NADeF, the foundation has created an endowment fund for NADeF where funds invested to sustain NADeF after life of mine
She pointed out that to enhance community ownership and capacity building, NADeF has been embarking broader community participation in the planning, decision making, and the implementation process to create sense of ownership
NADeF also looks at partnership opportunities with other development agencies by collaborating with affiliated government of Ghana ministries for commitments before implementing the projects
She said internally generated funds from the institutions are being used to add on to facilities and for maintenance to ensure growth at all times. NADeF also relies on MoUs to firm up community quota and benefits with beneficiary institutions.