Applicable SDG: SDG 2: Zero Hunger
The Zero Hunger Sustainable Development Goal and related targets were prioritized by Teranga Gold after considerable consultation with local stakeholders. Through this process, food security and sustainable agricultural-based livelihoods were identified as a critical issue. Several of the SDG 2 targets were considered when developing community investment and livelihood restoration programs and monitoring at Teranga’s two mines, in Senegal and Burkina Faso.
Teranga identified the opportunity to address hunger in the communities surrounding our operations through economic empowerment, improved access to secure land, equipment and inputs, and enhanced technical capacity. We worked with stakeholders, external experts and technical services to develop programs that result in increased community capacity in terms of being able to boost crop production, introduce new and high-value crops and improve access to farming areas.
At both of our operating mines there are ongoing large-scale economic and physical resettlements. The risks of resettlement to communities and companies are significant. If not carried out to international best practices, resettlement can leave communities impoverished and socially unstable, and can create volatile social risks for companies. If community members are displaced economically (i.e. losing access to their fields) but not provided with replacement land and support to regenerate their agricultural production, there can be significant negative impacts to their ability to grow enough food and generate enough income to feed their families. We are focused on ensuring that we reinforce the livelihoods of impacted people, the majority of whom rely on subsistence agriculture.
Both of Teranga’s operating mines currently have an estimated 10 years of mine life, with ongoing exploration possibly resulting in longer-lasting operations. If large-scale economic displacement leaves local communities with greater food insecurity and bitter towards the company, it could threaten the “social license” of a mine and lead to operational disruptions and loss of support from the government.
In addition to the livelihood risks related to resettlements, the Sahel region of West Africa where Teranga operates is particularly vulnerable to climate change as two critical livelihood activities – rain-fed agriculture and transhumant livestock raising – are dependent on seasonal rains. This presents risks to communities surrounding Teranga’s mines that rely heavily on subsistence agriculture for household nutrition, and livestock for generating household income.
The two major challenges of economic displacement and climate change share a severe risk; hunger in the communities surrounding our operations. Teranga believes that addressing these challenges will have the greatest impact on our ability to achieve zero hunger in the communities we operate.
(Text from the three Targets is highlighted throughout the following program description.)
Teranga is addressing the targets of the Zero Hunger SDG through a number of projects in the regions we operate. A common thread that guides us through all the projects we implement is the aim to create lasting impact and help communities become self-sustaining and profitable long after we leave the region, reducing hunger in the long-term.
The standout initiative Teranga is currently undertaking that addresses the targets of the Zero Hunger SDG is the Livelihood Restoration Plan (LRP) at our Wahgnion Mine in Burkina Faso. An ongoing large-scale resettlement of 685 households includes the purchase of 2,000 hectares of agricultural land for mine operations. The main objective of the LRP is to restore or replace impacted livelihoods to ensure secure, sustainable access to food through increased agricultural production and revenue. The six-year (2018-2023), US$18 million program is being implemented by a team of 17 people, working closely with local stakeholders including government technical services.
Teranga collaborated with stakeholders to develop the LRP and ensure that it reflects local conditions and priorities. A community consultation committee reviews plans and makes consensus-based decisions for the LRP. Broad and equitable representation on this committee is an important consideration, with women, youth and representatives from all impacted communities in the region playing an active role in discussions (…in particular women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists and fishers). Stakeholders also have access to a grievance mechanism to address concerns or complaints, with any appeals referred back to the multi-stakeholder committee for resolution.
During initial resettlement consultations, stakeholders identified the reduced access to fertile land as the main challenge to livelihood restoration and enhancement for the local communities. Therefore, the LRP was designed with three objectives.
The Livelihood Restoration Plan has nine programs that build on two of the most prevalent economic activities in the area – agricultural production and livestock – and consider specific social groups such as vulnerable households and women. Education, training and support is integrated into each program in order to build capacity towards sustainable, higher-production agricultural practices. Financial literacy training is also provided to support households in managing compensation and investments.
Teranga has been operating in West Africa for over ten years, and we have considered both our successes and key learnings from past resettlement initiatives and community projects in our implementation of this LRP.
At our Sabodala mine in Senegal, Teranga implements livelihood support programs administered through a Social Fund. Through an established agreement with local and regional authorities, funding is distributed based on the nature of impacts from the mine and assigned to projects that are identified by municipalities in line with their local development plans and Social Fund criteria. Teranga works with the local authorities and technical services to implement the projects. Programs implemented in the past several years that address SDG 2 include market gardening, donation of tractors and support for management committees, fruit trees, and rice seeds, which all contribute towards our goals of improving access to food and increasing economic resiliency.
Results and outcomes from the Wahgnion Gold Operations’ Livelihood Restoration Plan (LRP)
Teranga’s LRP programs are monitored regularly, with progress indicators calculated monthly and impact indicators measured every three years. An evaluation will be carried out at the end of the Plan to verify whether the livelihoods of the populations affected by the project have been restored and enhanced.
The first two communities completed their transition into newly built villages in 2019 and success stories are provided below for several of the programs, illustrating the results and impacts from the first two years of the LRP.
Market gardens with solar power irrigation
The introduction of market gardens – in an area where only rice, corn, cotton and a few other staple crops are widely cultivated – was initially met with reluctance by the local communities, but has shown promising results and is now embraced.
Testimonial of Ouattara Mory (Songha resident and president of Songha market garden co-operative):
“The market garden has allowed me to learn about different vegetables that I had never eaten or heard of before! Thanks to the market garden, we eat much better. From the rainy season until now, I have vegetables available for my family at all times and without having to spend money to buy them.
The money I got from selling vegetables allowed me to buy a bull, buy the children’s school supplies and pay their tuition. My wife also earns some money by selling some vegetables, as do my little brothers, who no longer need to do gold panning in the dry season.
Before, we didn’t work together as a community, but with the garden we work in groups and buy our inputs (insecticides, fertilizers, etc.) together, which has strengthened our relationships.
High-value cassava: An alternative source of income
The introduction of cassava cultivation has been a way to supplement traditional subsistence farming with a high-value crop that is used for household consumption and revenue generation.
Testimonial of Ouattara Lassina (affected household from Zangounka):
“Cassava production has brought me a lot! Cassava has been added to our diet: from August to December the cassava helped me to feed my family, which is made up of 25 people. I also paid for my children’s school supplies and for prescriptions for my wife, who fell ill during the month of September. At that time, cassava tubers were the only product that I could sell and make money from.”
Engaging with women’s groups on economic revenues
Women contribute significantly to the economic activities of the community yet they control very little of the assets or revenue. Teranga is supporting entrepreneurial women’s groups to generate revenue that can be reinvested or shared to meet the needs of their group members.
Testimonial of Ouattara Naminata (resident of Zangounka and secretary of Benkadi Dogotienavogo group from Zangounka):
“This program has brought a big change within our group! People were frustrated and had started to abandon the group. Now we hold regular meetings, and each member brings their ideas. In addition, we were able to set up a functional office.
“We opened a savings account at the credit union where we deposit money monthly.”
Results and impacts from Sabodala Gold Operations (Senegal) community development programs
Case study: Mariama Diallo is a member of the Madina Sabodala village women’s market garden. In 2016, during the first market garden season, she produced 150kg of onions and sold them to the mine. With this money, she bought her first goat – an asset indicating relative wealth in her community. Within two years, she had managed to accumulate a herd of 15 goats through the income she earned from her vegetable production, enhancing the food security for her family year-round.
Throughout the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Teranga has committed to doing whatever we can to help protect and aid the communities and regions surrounding our operations. Our efforts are focused on SDG 3.
Our contributions varied between the three countries in which we operate, based on where we could have the most impact and where our operations are most established.
In Senegal, we felt a responsibility as the operator of the largest gold mine in the country We contributed US$833,000 to support the government’s efforts to build capacity to manage the spread and impacts of COVID-19.
Of this amount, US$800,000 was donated to Senegal’s Ministry of Health and was used to:
Teranga donated more than US$33,000 at the Kédougou regional level, which has welcomed and supported the growth of our operations for over 10 years.
In addition, we donated diagnostics equipment to Dakar’s FANN University Hospital and reagents to conduct 10,000 tests. The rapid-testing automated machine also conducts analysis that will help in the management of a range of other diseases and infections and so will be broadly useful to the FANN hospital.
In Burkina Faso, as a member of the Burkina Faso Chamber of Mines, Teranga is part of a countrywide industry coalition that has mobilized nearly US$ 670,000 to help support the country’s pandemic response. As part of this commitment, our donation included:
In addition to these financial contributions, we continue to work with local communities around our mine to educate on proper hygiene practices and symptoms of COVID-19. To support virus control efforts in the region, we transformed one of our camps into an isolation/quarantine centre and donated medical equipment for the Burkinabe health authority’s use at this new centre.
In Côte d’Ivoire, where we have several early-stage exploration properties, Teranga worked with an industry coalition to collectively provide financial support to help the government and health authorities manage the spread and impact of COVID-19. Through this coalition, we have donated nearly US$24,700 at the national level. In addition to our financial contributions, Teranga’s sustainability team is working with the regional health department of Aboisso in the region surrounding our Afema project to distribute hygiene and virus protection kits to local health clinics. We expect to spend to up to approximately US$15,500 on the purchase and distribution of health supplies.
We continue to evaluate the situation in each region and are crafting solutions and resources to further assist in alleviating the impacts of the pandemic on our communities at the same time collaborating with our peers to coordinate our support to regional authorities.