Primary SDG Focus
Please summarize your company’s SDG focus, how was that SDG was implemented and how did achieved and measured the impact.
Golden Star recognizes the important role it can play as a catalyst for promoting positive health outcomes across its workforce and within local communities. As such, we implement a variety of health and well-being programs in support of SDG 3. The initiatives range from employee support for medical coverage, occupational health and safety initiatives, building local health infrastructure, and community / public health projects.
Partnerships are the central focus of our implementation approach. We partner with local, national, and international organizations for project and program delivery. This includes our on-site medical services provider for occupational health initiatives; local and national development NGOs for project delivery and support; and, international development organizations (e.g. GIZ) for funding and project delivery. We also promote employee engagement through employee participation and volunteering.
Through partnerships, we are able to leverage the skills, expertise, and resources of myriad organizations and are able to achieve outcomes that far exceed the capability of any one organization.
Perhaps most importantly, we partner with local, regional, and national government organizations to help build capacity, strengthen national systems and promote long-term sustainability. This helps ensure that the local communities do not become reliant on the company for support, especially because the mining operations have a finite life.
KPIs are incorporated into projects and programs. We use baseline data and post-project monitoring to evaluate outcomes and impacts. We also measure business value generated through cost savings and improvements in metrics related to employee health. We also conduct health impact assessments to evaluate impacts.
The Golden Star Breast Cancer awareness partnership impacted over 10,000 women and girls and potentially saved as many as 270 lives!
How was your primary SDG focus identified and prioritized in the company’s value chain?
Golden Star considers employee health and well-being key business drivers. A healthy workforce drives productivity, reduces lost-time, and reduces overall costs. Promoting health and well-being also helps attract and retain a talented workforce. Thus, we prioritize health and well-being of employees and their dependents at the highest level of our organization and business strategy by incorporating it into our overall mission statement. By doing so, it becomes a central focus of our culture and our ongoing business activities.
We also recognize the important role we can play in being a catalyst for driving better local health outcomes, especially because we operate in a developing country where the capacity and resources to deliver quality health outcomes are often limited. In addition, promoting healthy communities is a key way in which we are able to maintain our social license to operate, as health is a key development priority for our host communities. Thus, promoting health and well-being has become a central focus of our community relations approach.
We conducted internal mapping exercises for the SDGs to better understand the linkages between mining and each of the goals and to help define the focus areas where we could have the most impact. Broad-scale communication amongst leadership, including use of the Mapping Mining to the SDGs: An Atlas tool, helped us refine our focus areas for the SDGs across our value chain, which includes a core focus on SDG 3.
Health and wellbeing has a direct business benefit – here our surface miners participate in a voluntary health screening partnership program
How was your primary SDG integrated and anchored throughout your business?
Promoting health and well-being is integrated across our entire business, from our high-level business strategy and objectives through to our operations management and employee culture. Not only it is a key part of our overall mission statement, which defines our core purpose as an organization, but it is also anchored in our business as a key activity through our corporate Policy on Safety, Health, and Wellbeing. The Policy applies to all of our subsidiaries and serves as the foundation of our operational health and safety management systems. The Policy is operationalized through a business wide Safety Plan and a Health and Wellbeing Plan, which are supported by Department level plans.
We consider community health and wellbeing risks and opportunities as part of project-level environmental and social impact assessments. We also conduct standalone health impact assessments to evaluate the impacts and outcomes of our interventions and to inform corrective actions.
In 2006, we established the Golden Star Development Foundation (GSDF), which is funded with $1 for every ounce of gold produced annually and 0.1% of pre-tax profit. The GSDF funds projects that are selected by local communities through consultative committees – who prioritize and select projects based on needs assessments and local development priorities. Given the high development needs related to health, SDG 3 is a key focus for these projects.
Our development goals are anchored through our Policy on Community Development and Support – for real poverty alleviation, the status of women must be advanced, which in turn requires an improvement in health outcomes.
The Golden Star Development Foundation funds a range of health initiatives and is funded by the company with US$1 per ounce of gold produced.
Did you employ any innovative approaches in your efforts to implement the goal?
One of the most innovative aspects of our approach to implementing SDG 3 is our focus on preventative health. We do so in recognition that the returns on investment – in terms of improved health outcomes – are far higher with a focus on prevention over cure alone. Doing so also reduces the burden on already-constrained local and national healthcare systems.
In 2015, we embarked on an initiative with one of our longtime partners, the German International Development Agency, Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), entitled Prevention is Better than Cure, with six other partners in the fields of health service provision, health care infrastructure, medical and diagnostic equipment and health insurance. As part of our contribution to the partnership, we financed the design, construction and equipping of a teaching clinic at Akyempim that has been purpose-built for preventative health programs, including family planning and individual health status initiatives. The clinic, associated preventative health programs, and national health insurance initiatives are run from the facility, which serves as a pilot project for a much larger initiative with national reach that will, in later phases, extend through the quasi-Government health institutions in the country.
We also employ innovative partnerships for program and project delivery. For example, we invest in turn-key heath infrastructure projects that require a local sponsor and long-term custodian. This helps build capacity for local institutions and promotes long-term sustainability.
To enhance workforce participation, we set targets with senior leadership, and establish individual workplace screening locations, e.g. when testing for TB, we screen personnel at a location established at the shaft collar, to maximize opportunities for participation.
A further innovation, is the broad scale approach to partnership, which has resulted in numerous contributors to program funding and support.
Leaders routinely discuss issues with our workforce to ensure integration of safety, health and wellbeing objectives.
Were any partnerships leveraged or created?
Partnerships are the central focus of project and program delivery, enabling us to leverage the resources, skills, and expertise of myriad organizations and, in turn, achieve outcomes that far exceed the capabilities of any one organization. Together we are more than the sum of our parts.
We work with development organizations to leverage their specialized expertise as well as for project and program delivery. For example, we partnered with a US-based NGO, Project C.U.R.E., to deliver the ‘Helping Babies Breathe’ initiative. The initiative was delivered using the train-the-trainer model to build capacity for reducing post-natal mortality, one of the biggest public health challenges in Ghana.
We engage international development organizations to leverage funding and international expertise. Since 2009, we have worked with the GIZ on several projects to promote community health and wellbeing.
Through the Private Sector Malaria Prevention Partnership, we have broadened the scale and scope of our own malaria prevention initiatives for outreach to host communities.
We promote employee engagement by encouraging participation and volunteering in initiatives; e.g. the Golden Star Ladies Clubs raise funds and conduct training under a breast cancer awareness program. Participation of other private partners is also promoted to leverage these partnerships.
Critically, we partner with all levels of government agencies to build capacity and promote long-term sustainability of our initiatives; e.g. we partnered with Ghana Health Services for the development of turn-key, preventative health focused medical facilities.
Lastly, we partner with occupational health services providers for OHS and well-being initiatives.
The Helping Babies Breathe partnership has significantly reduced neonatal mortality in our host communities.
What communications strategy did you employ to share the initiative with your stakeholders?
We engage in regular consultations with host communities, via three-tiered communications structures: comprised of local community leaders, elected officials and representatives. These structures are the main formal conduit for consultations and enable two-way feedback, including as it relates to our health-related initiatives.
From an informal perspective, we employ community notice boards, engagement centres, social media and radio for engagement.
In addition, all company projects and programs require internal approvals, and such action and communication plans are documented during the project feasibility assessment phase.
We engage in extensive consultations as part of our project development and impact assessment processes. This enables local input into our planning and ongoing management strategies. Impact assessments include public hearings, which typically attract hundreds of people and are convened and presided over by regulators and Traditional Landowners.
We implement a local media strategy to communicate the results of our initiatives through traditional media. We commit to further openness and transparency through ongoing communication through social media, including through a regular blog, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Golden Star utilises this wide array of methods to enhance accessibility to the company and related information, promoting awareness and increasing local participation in projects. Additional methods are target audience specific, which is of specific relevance in health related programs, which are often culturally sensitive or the subject of taboos.
Communication and engagement with our workforce (51% host community) and contractors (74% host community) on health matters and programs, occurs at shift pre-start meetings and specific safety and health meetings, and is buttressed by health education and counselling provided by medical services providers. This is important to dispelling the various myths associated with some health conditions and enhancing workforce participation. We also recognise the role our workforce play as leaders in the community, and seek to educate them for ongoing transfer of knowledge in our host communities.
Reporting on our safety, health, and well-being performance is a key focus of our annual corporate responsibility report, which is released publicly and details goals and targets for the future year.
Community at a women’s health outreach program. For many it was the first time in years that they had access to a nurse to consult with.
How were KPIs and the levels of success outlined and defined?
KPIs and associated levels of success are defined on a project-by-project basis to help ensure that appropriate metrics are developed for specific initiatives.
The associated indicators for SDG 3 are used as a guide for KPI development. This also helps determine the impact of our initiatives against the objectives of the goals. As much as possible, we integrate and align project metrics with metrics collected by public health agencies, including government hospitals and clinics as well as national health data.
We evaluate pre- and post-intervention health data and indicators to determine the efficacy of the initiatives. For example, Ghana Health Services has reported that since our intervention on neo-natal resuscitation that the neo-natal death rate has reduced by an order of magnitude in one District, and by 25% in another.
For some of our larger mining projects, we conduct health impact assessments to determine potential project impacts on local residents.
We measure the business impact to determine the value to the company, including evaluating the overall benefits of our interventions, e.g. our malaria case rates have reduced by two thirds, and in the period 2017 to 2018, our lost time from malaria reduced from 10% of OPD cases to less than 6% of cases – compared to 60% of OPD cases in the host communities.
Lastly, it is important to note that much of the success of the initiatives as pertain to capacity enhancement, is qualitative. Feedback from project and program participants is key to further understanding impacts, including through participant testimonials.
Educating community on the use of mosquito nets funded through a partnership program. Over 5000 long-lasting insecticide treated nets were shared under this initiative in 2018.
How were reporting and monitoring conceptualized and undertaken?
Robust baseline information and data related to health are critical for monitoring and evaluation purposes. The information and data can be compared against post-project results to determine the overall efficacy of the intervention and, in turn, the impact the initiative had on achieving SDG 3.
Baseline information and data are collected on an ongoing basis, including as part of environmental and social impact assessments (ESIAs), health impact assessments (HIAs), and ongoing employee and community health monitoring. Additional project-specific information may be collected prior to the start of the project.
Data and information are collected from a variety of sources, including local, regional, and national sources. This includes: our on-site medical service providers; the Ghana Health Services and Ministry of Health; local clinics and hospitals; national statistical agencies; the national census; and international organizations (e.g. the World Health Organization).
We evaluate pre- and post-intervention health data and indicators to determine the efficacy of the initiatives. Health impact assessments (HIAs) are often conducted to determine health impacts on larger populations. Data and program reports are documented and shared with partners and to leverage the knowledge gained through the initiatives.
For flow on benefits to health services professionals we conduct interviews and obtain testimonials. Participants in capacity building programs are encouraged to provide feedback or complete formal competency assessments as further monitoring mechanisms.
Additionally, within Golden Star, senior personnel undertake periodic reviews to validate the sustainability of all such interventions, including study tours and interactions by members of the Board and senior executive.
Golden Star Vice President, HR and Development visits the Akyempim clinic, to validate the sustainability of this intervention – Ghana’s first combined curative and preventative clinic.
What were some key lessons learned?
Key lessons learnt include the following:
- Identification of a long-term sponsor is critical to help ensure sustainability of infrastructure projects.
- Communities are less willing to adopt capacity building projects, until basic infrastructure needs are addressed.
- The socio-cultural drivers need to be well understood to ensure that health related projects can be implemented in a manner that is socially appropriate, sensitive to cultural aspects, and enable equitable access.
- Community involvement (engagement and participation) is critical for project and programs. It promotes a sense of ownership and builds local capacity.
- Partnering with local, regional and national health institutions and agencies is critical to the success of health related projects, and their subsequent leverage as influencers for enhanced or strengthened national systems and capacity.
- Partnering with local institutions is key to build capacity, promote long-term sustainability, and avoid reliance on the company
- Numerous actors are involved in the arena of health providing significant opportunity for partnerships and leverage of partners’ expertise and networks.
- Results are far greater when working in partnership.
- Workforce participation can be significantly enhanced through setting of participation targets with management, extensive sensitization to dispel myths associated with health, and the establishment of workplace specific screening locations to minimize time away from work.
- Project and programs should be linked to generating business value, including through costs savings, ROI, and maintenance of the company’s social license to operate.
What were the key impacts and results?
The company and its partners have achieved significant success in achieving positive impacts and results.
To date, the company has built or upgraded 7 health care facilities in local communities reaching thousands. In addition, over US$0.4M has been invested in medical health equipment and supplies.As part of its breast cancer awareness program, the company and its partners have provided screening to over 10,000 local women, potentially saving 270 lives.
Through Helping Babies Breathe, neo-natal mortality rates decreased from 1.1% to 0.06% per 100 live births since program inception of the program in one District, and in less than a year had reduced by over 25% in another.
Our malaria prevention program has reduce the rate of malaria across the workforce by two thirds since program inception. Last year alone, we reduced our days lost to malaria to less than 6% of OPD cases (versus 60% in host communities)!
We provide free preventative and curative health services, medical and health surveillance and health insurance to our workforce and their dependents.
Through various prevention health focused programs, thousands of people received free and confidential preventative health screening for a variety of communicable and NCD.
The Golden Star workforce have actively embraced the company health initiatives and participate in the many health activities for enhanced health outcomes.
In recognition of the extensive positive impacts of the company’s health and wellbeing initiatives, the company has received multiple awards:
- Private Sector Malaria Prevention Partnership project of Johns Hopkins University Centre for Communication Programs and UK DFID – Malaria Safe Company award 2017.
- 2018 Ghana Mining Industry Awards – Corporate Social Investment Project – breast cancer awareness initiative.
- Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada 2018 Environment and Social Responsibility Award in recognition of its global leadership in corporate responsibility, including innovative approaches to promoting health and well-being.
- 2018 PDAC Environmental and Social Responsibility Award winner video
- Golden Star CSR blog:
- Helping Babies Breathe program report 2018
- Golden Star Fact Sheet – Malaria prevention
- Golden Star Fact Sheet – Breast cancer prevention
- Golden Star Fact Sheet – Community health
- Golden Star Fact Sheet – Pandemic preparedness
- Golden Star Fact Sheet – Prevention is Better Than Cure
- Golden Star Fact Sheet – Project CURE
- Golden Star Fact Sheet – Employee Health and Wellbeing
Please also find following the link to our CSR blog which contains stories about our health programming and Golden Star’s other corporate responsibility initiatives:
The Golden Star Ladies Club celebrate the 2018 launch of the Prestea Prevention Health Unit which ensures the long-term sustainability of their award-winning breast cancer awareness program.