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Women’s Consultative Committee Promotes Gender Equality in Ghana

The success of Newmont’s business depends, in part, on our ability to have a positive impact on the social and economic development of host communities. To accomplish this in a meaningful and sustainable manner, we first need to have a clear understanding of the expectations, concerns and needs of the community.

By conducting social impact assessments (SIA), we are better informed as we partner with communities to identify opportunities to create value and improve through sustainable and responsible mining.

In 2005, prior to commissioning our Ahafo project in Ghana into operation, we undertook an SIA in the host communities near the site. One of the key findings was that women were underrepresented in community decisions – including discussions around mining. This meant that the views and needs of local women, as well as others in the community (i.e., children), may not be adequately reflected as decisions are made.

Based on this understanding, in 2006 Ahafo established a Gender Plan to actively address this gap. One of the objectives of the Gender Plan was to implement strategies to secure greater female participation in decision-making at the local level through establishment of the Women’s Consultative Committee (WCC). Today, the WCC provides a platform for women in the Ahafo area to freely express their interests and needs and actively participate in community decision-making.

The WCC is a 95-member committee made up of Queen Mothers (important traditional authorities), elected female representatives from each community and women elected from local interest groups and associations of bakers, hairstylists, shopkeepers, seamstresses and others.

By participating in capacity-building programs, financial management training, entrepreneurship classes, advocacy skill building, and health awareness courses, the members of WCC are able to host their own seminars and training for women and others in the community. Members of the WCC promote awareness on teen pregnancy and foster skills development through a Role Model Program where members mentor peers on everything from child care to business skills.

In 2009, the group independently initiated the WCC Self-Help Fund. Through members’ personal contributions, fundraising and institutional contributions from Newmont and others, the Fund disburses loans to WCC members or contributing women in the community based on a written Constitution. From 2009 to 2014, the Fund loaned nearly US$18,000 to 425 women and has seen a 95 percent loan repayment rate, versus less than 50 percent for loans in general in Ghana. Beneficiaries make payments directly to the bank (ECOBANK Ghana), giving women direct banking experience.

In this video, you will hear from members of the WCC and gain insight into the value the organization is generating and its positive impact on the community.

 

Tags : Africa, Ahafo, Community, People

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