Looking back to the early days of GGML (Geita Gold Mining Limited) in 2000, under the leadership of its parent company AGA (AngloGold Ashanti), GGML was one of the first flag bearers of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) and a key proponent long before it became en vogue and commonplace.
For too long, the large companies that dominated the extractive minerals industries were not known for their contribution to social sectors such as healthcare, education, road infrastructure and entrepreneurship.
GGML has always been committed to ensuring that communities surrounding the mine benefit from mining activities in the region, and has led the way with its sustainable social investments that have increased support for local communities. In doing so, the company has shaped the attitudes of other key stakeholders in the mineral extraction industries.
GGML’s strategic objective is to integrate mining into development policies at local, national and regional levels.
In 2018, GGML became the first mining company in Tanzania to take the lead and develop and implement a credible CSR plan in accordance with Section 105 of the Written Laws (Miscellaneous Amendments) No. 7 of 2017, which amends the Mining Act No. 14 of 2010. This has led to the company entering into strategic partnerships with local government authorities and other stakeholders to drive inclusive socio-economic development in Geita, with annual investments of Tshs 9.2 billion per annum, rising to Tshs 19 billion for projects under the newly signed Memorandum of Understanding for the period 2022/2023.
With the intention of creating a legacy and supporting government initiatives to create a sustainable economy that can outlast mining activities in Geita. GGML continues to work with various stakeholders to improve education, health and infrastructure in all other areas prioritised by the government.
GGML has long held the firm belief that education is a cornerstone for Tanzania’s development. GGML supported the construction of a number of primary and secondary schools in the Geita region, including Nyankumbu Girls Secondary School, the largest secondary school for girls in Geita, which was officially opened in 2014 and for whose construction GGML provided Tshs 15 billion under the leadership of the Geita Town Council.
Head Teacher of Nyankumbu Girls Secondary School, Georgia Mugashe, said the establishment of the school has benefited so many people and is a saviour for the region. This academic year, the school has admitted a total of 240 new students in form one after being heavily oversubscribed.
After the establishment of Nyankumbu Girls Secondary School, there were still too few school places in Geita for advanced level students (form five and form six). Geita District Council directed the construction of Bugando and Kamena Secondary School with a contribution of Tshs 287,500,000 under GGML’s 2018 CSR Plan. The construction of these two government high schools was completed in time for the admission of the first students for the 2021/2022 school year.
GGML KILI Challenge Against HIV & AIDS
The GGML Kili Challenge Against HIV & AIDS campaign was launched just over 20 years ago in support of the government efforts in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Tanzania and to raise funds each year to support communities in areas severely affected by the pandemic.
As part of the campaign, a team of cyclists circles the base of Mount Kilimanjaro while climbers scale the summit of Africa’s highest mountain.
This year’s challenge is scheduled for 14 July, when another group of climbers and cyclists will train with the common goal of joining the more than 800 people from all parts of the world who have successfully completed this rewarding challenge, helping to raise the more than Tshs 1.3 billion to support more than 20 private institutions in providing services to victims of the epidemic.
One of the beneficiaries of the funds is the AGAPE Centre in Njombe region which last year received a grant of Tshs 29.9 million after submitting a proposal to the GGM Kili Challenge board of trustees. The centre’s coordinator, Enara Nyagawa, says the funds have helped improve the environment of access to education for children and families living with HIV.
Moyo wa Huruma Orphanage
The Moyo wa Huruma Orphanage in Geita, run in collaboration with RCDG (Roman Catholic Diocese of Geita), was established in 2004 by GGML through the GGM Kili Challenge Against HIV & AIDS Fund and the Geita District Council. The facility was officially inaugurated in 2006 and started operating as a residential home in the same year, caring for orphans, most of whose parents have died of HIV & AIDS and who are in a vulnerable state.
The centre is run under a Tetra partnership between GGML, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Geita, Geita District Council and Geita Town Council. To date, the centre houses a total of 113 children and employs 14 staff. GGML funds the running costs of the centre estimated at Tshs 50 million per quarter and the centre also receives about Tshs 150 million per year from GGM Kili Challenge Against HIV & AIDS Fund for infrastructure.
As part of its CSR mandate, GGML has made significant investments in the health sector. More than 20 health centres in the Geita region have benefited from GGML’s CSR funding, contributing to the purchase of medical and surgical equipment at Nyamalembo, Nyakahongola, Kasota, Kakubiro, Bukoli and Katoro Health Centres
More than Tshs 565 million was disbursed by GGML to Geita Referral Hospital to support the rehabilitation of the facility, which was built in 1957, and the improvement of cardiology services.
GGML has also partnered with the Rafiki Surgical Mission of Australia and donated four ambulances. Over the past 20 years, GGML has financially supported the free surgical treatment of more than 2,000 patients with cleft lip and palate.
Jubilee medical boat
The first Jubilee Medical Boat made its maiden voyage in February 2015. The project is part of the partnership between the African Inland Church of Tanzania, the Vine Trust of Scotland and GGML, the boat operates in the islands of Lake Victoria, which originally had no access to medical services.
In October 2021, GGML signed a Memorandum of Understanding to extend support for the medical boat for a further five years to maintain the provision of primary health care services, including maternal health care, voluntary HIV testing and care and treatment for AIDS, immunisation, dentistry and general basic health education and care with a focus on maternal and child health. Basic laboratory services and a general pharmacy are also provided, with all services free of charge reaching more than 158,000 residents on various islands in Lake Victoria since the project started.
Business Development for Tanzanians
GGML sees it as its duty to ensure that CSR investments fully engage local communities in the Geita region and the expansion of local procurement. The signing of the capacity building programme between GGML and NEEC (National Economic Empowerment Council) has increased the transparency of GGML’s procurement standards and made it easier for local businesses to supply one of the largest employers in the region. Since the launch of this Local Content initiative, over 300 local businesses have received valuable training to help them better understand and position themselves as potential suppliers. The number of Tanzanian companies that make up Geita Gold Mining’s local supplier network now exceeds 300 and accounts for 76% of total procurement spend in Tanzania.
One such beneficiary of the collaboration between GGML and NEEC is GGML’s contractor, Blue Coast Investment Limited. The company won a tender to transport one-third of the fuel used by GGML for its machinery and fleet of vehicles. After the company won the first tender, Jeremiah Musa, Manager at Blue Coast, explained that the GGML also provided the company with training that enabled it to successfully participate in two other tenders and win the contract, allowing the company to expand and increase its workforce to over 400 Tanzanians.
Integrated Mining Technical Training
Strengthening human capital in Tanzania by promoting education and training in the mining sector is of paramount importance to GGML and the Tanzanian economy. GGML is one of the main sponsors of the IMTT (Integrated Mining Technical Training) and has long supported the training facilities of VETA in Moshi. The programme aims to help VETA Moshi enrol more students and continuously improve the quality of outcomes, especially for students taking various courses related to the mining industry. In October 2021, GGML donated equipment worth TZS 132 million to support the IMTT programme at VETA Moshi. .
Improving farmers’ livelihoods
For large sections of the population in Tanzania, agriculture is the main source of income, including in Geita. In 2015, GGML and the Cholima Agriculture Institute initiated a special capacity-building programme in Bugulula that imparted knowledge and best practices that led to the introduction of sunflower cultivation and the adoption of improved farming practices for rice cultivation. Since the project began in the seven villages, the fortunes of the 220 farmers cultivating 350 hectares of land have changed for the better. GGML has also invested in a sunflower processing factory in Kasota and financed the construction of a mill (milling, grading and packing) and storage facilities under the Saragurwa Rice Paddy Project, where 700 farmers (85% women) cultivate 600 hectares of land.
Through the exchange of knowledge and best practices, the lives of many farmers have been transformed thanks to GGML’s support, in some cases achieving as much as 250% higher yields. A sunflower farmer from Kasota village, Mr Saakumi Makungu, who is also the chairperson of the Nyabusakama cooperative, said: “We thank the management of GGML and the council for supporting us because we had to walk 25 kilometres to access a sunflower processing machine but now we are doing the same with rice here.”
As part of increased focus on community livelihoods, GGML donated 23 tonnes of sunflower seeds worth $46,956 with a distribution of 13.8 tonnes in Geita District Council and 9.1 tonnes in Geita Town Council. The support reflects GGML’s ambition to transform the agriculture sector to the communities around the mine since 2015 where most of the farmers relied on their smallholdings to mostly cultivate maize, cassava, groundnuts and raise livestock.