Chirano Gold Mines Limited has launched the Chirano Sefwiman Foundation, an endeavor that reinforces the company’s ongoing commitment to local sustainable development.
The foundation’s mandate will be to create a lasting legacy, through providing opportunities and structured support for the people of Sefwi, within a strong framework of governance and transparency.
Since its first gold pour, Chirano Gold Mines has provided US$1 for every ounce it produces towards social development, placing these contributions into a Community Trust Fund.
This Trust Fund has grown to approximately GH₵11.3 million, a sum that will be managed and deployed by the Foundation towards initiatives in the areas of education, healthcare, economic empowerment, and water and sanitation management.
General Manager, Terence Watungwa reiterates that Kinross Gold’s values of outstanding corporate citizenship, and putting people first underpins the creation of the organization and the expected benefits it can bring to Sefwi.
Sefwiman was represented by three paramount chiefs for the agreement of the foundation and launch.
They are the Paramount Chief of Sefwi Wiawso Traditional Area, Katakhyie Bumankama the Second, Paramount Chief of Chirano Traditional Area, Okogyeaman Kwaku Gyambra the Third and Paramount Chief of Sefwi Anhwiaso Traditional Area, Ogyeahoho Yaw Gyabi the Second.
Acknowledging the benefits of the foundation, the chiefs said the accompanying scholarship in the long term will economically empower the youth and improve lives in the communities.
Foundation Mandate and Focus on Sustainable Development
In the area of education, the Chirano Sefwiman Foundation will institute a scholarship program for local communities to help local youth at various levels of their educational journeys.
Students who otherwise would not have the resources to pursue an education will now have access to higher levels of learning and its resulting benefits and opportunities.
The foundation will also tackle unemployment by rolling out programs to train and equip the youth with skills that will improve their chances of gaining jobs with companies all over the country.
Through the program’s additional focus on entrepreneurship, students will also have support to set up viable businesses which could in turn go on to employ others.
“Education is key to improving the future well-being of Sefwi. The foundation will support the youth in this area and provide opportunities for the long term,” General Manager, Terence Watungwa said.
This process for the formation of the foundation began in 2017 when a proposal was submitted by Chirano Gold Mines to the Community Consultative Committee (CCC) and was sustained through the efforts of a number of people who put in many hours of hard work to make it a reality.
Chirano benefitted from the feedback of the Community Consultative Committee as well as that of its consultant, Mr Johnson Ben Oduro.
The Company also received input through consultation with all communities in the catchment area, which was an integral part of the process, ensuring that the Foundation has the support from all key stakeholders.
The Chirano Sefwiman Foundation is structured in a manner that provides appropriate governance controls to ensure that funds are used for priority projects that provide genuine benefits to the community.
The Foundation will have obligatory reporting requirements- at least one annual general assembly and filing audited financial statements.
It will have a Board of Trustees, a Technical Committee and an Executive Secretary who will be responsible for organizing the meetings of the Board and the Technical committee and will submit project proposals and recommendations.
They will also have considerable responsibility as they work to institute interventions that will transform lives and positively impact communities.
The foundation’s structure was inspired by other successful foundations, including those in Ghana and Chirano’s sister mine, Kupol, in Russia.
Other source of funding support
Chirano will continue the contribution of US$1 dollar per ounce which would be used to fund future projects.
While CGML is the only contributor presently, the Foundation also has the capacity to raise funds from third-party donors, which may provide additional opportunities in the future.
The projects and programs carried out by the Foundation will be in addition to Chirano’s existing corporate social responsibilities.
The company will continue to make budgetary allocations to current community relations projects to continue putting up infrastructure and rolling out intervention programs to communities in the catchment area.
Chirano’s approach is based on the principle that responsible mining generates long-term, sustainable value in host communities.
The company strives to create positive economic and social benefits and improve the overall quality of people’s lives in a manner that is sustainable beyond the life of mine.
Over the past 15 years, the company has provided reliable electricity, better access, and quality of education, roads, health care, sanitation, and waste management.
To date, 13 million dollars has been invested in these projects.
According to officials of the company, these have been possible because of a comprehensive and consistent approach to community well-being.
The creation of the Chirano Sefwiman Foundation is an integral step to ensure that benefits from operations continue and that the company provides lasting legacy even after the mine is no longer operational.
General Manager and Vice President of the Mine, Mr. Terence Wutungwa, added that the mine will work to ensure that the foundation achieves its objectives of supporting the development of local communities.
Chairman of the Community Consultative Committee (CCC), Chief of Sefwi-Paboase, Nana Frimpong Manso Ababio, said the foundation will also look at women empowerment programs and scholarships.
“This is going to support brilliant but needy students within Sefwi Wiawo, Sefwi Anhwiaso and Sefwi Chirano Traditional Area (which forms the catchment area of the Mine).
For the scholarship, we are looking at transparency and we are happy that a percentage has been allocated to the three paramount stools.”
The company looks forward to this next phase of development in the catchment area, and to seeing the positive contributions that the foundation will make to the people of Sefwi.
Paramount Chief of Sefwi Anhwiaso Traditional Area, Ogyeahoho Yaw Gyabi the Second, admonished those in charge to ensure sure that deserving brilliant but needy indigenes get the scholarships.
He is positive if this is done it will encourage them to come back to serve their communities.
“For several years we have been asking for the establishment of a foundation for the Chirano Gold Mines Limited catchment area, so today being the day of launch; we are very happy because it is going to impact positively on the people.”
The chief emphasized that the contribution as paramount chiefs is to allow the people understand what is going on and give them the corporation they need.
“Just as we have been informed that the grade is falling so they have to keep an eye on their expenses, I think it is the responsibility of Nananom to also advise our people so we don’t make unreasonable demands from them.
“From time to time, we will speak to our people so we don’t create unnecessary tension in this area.”
Paramount Chief of Chirano Traditional Area, Okogyeaman Kwaku Gyambra the Third, advised the beneficiaries to justify their inclusion.
“This is not a right but a privilege, so once they are selected, we expect them to work hard to justify their inclusion and then motivate those of us including the company to do more.
“If the beneficiaries use the scholarships very well and advance in their various studies of endeavor, certainly it will encourage us and the mines to vote more money to cover more people,” he said.
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