Letter from the President
At Wanbao, we are committed to our community. We are aware that the last 12 months have not been easy for us in our community relationships. We hope that as you leaf through this booklet, you will get a better understanding of all our hard efforts to improve our relationship with our neighbouring villages and regain their trust. As the year comes to a close, I am happy to say that we have made many positive strides in that direction, and that we have won the trust of many in the community.
Our aim is for our community to develop and prosper hand in hand with us. We believe in shared prosperity. Our work in the villages through our Community and Social Development (CSD) programme is testament that our local community is our top priority. We want the people of Myanmar and Wanbao to realise the full potential of mining copper. Lest we forget copper is an essential ingredient of a modern economy. It is what goes into mobile phones, power cables, cookware… The list is endless.
We are delighted that 2% of our profit will go towards Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) investment for the lifetime of the mine, once it becomes operational. And let me state for the record that all the community work you will see and read about in the following pages was carried despite the mine not being operational since late November 2012. This shows our determination to assist and develop the local community.
We will continue doing everything in our power to reach out to all our neighbours in Myanmar and win and maintain their trust.
I look forward to a better tomorrow for our neighbouring villages, Monywa, Sagaing Division and Myanmar as a whole. They are our close partners in a brighter and better tomorrow.
President, Wanbao Mining
President Chen talking to villagers in Palaung village.
To have local “people driven” community assistance we created our Community Social Development (CSD) team and Committee. This was the best way for us to know and hear the needs of our neighbouring villages. The CSD team was made of village leaders and elders. The CSD committee, which is the highest decision maker of CSD work, is also made up of representatives of other stakeholders such as the local government, villagers, Wanbao and NGOs.
Our CSD Budget
With our CSD needs identified and defined, we designed our CSD plan and budget. What we cared most about was the impact that our programmes will have on improving the lives of our surrounding communities. This is the reason why, despite our mining work having been stopped since late 2012, our community work never stopped but rather went from strength to strength.
To Create “Inclusive Growth”
Our communities asked us for many things and many forms of assistance. We prioritised in consultation with them the needs that ranked highly for them as well as those that played a critical role in poverty reduction and improving their quality of life. This is why the provision of healthcare, electricity, clean water, education as well as road construction became a cornerstone of our community work.
We knew also the importance of faith and religion to the spiritual wellbeing of our communities so we refurbished old monasteries and built new ones.
Ensuring that our communities have access to safe drinking water was part of our CSD work. Clean water is important for improving people’s health and livelihoods. Recent UN studies have shown that water is essential for eradicating hunger, gender inequalities and improving access to education. Water is an essential pre-condition to the attainment of other Millennium Development Goal targets: there is little prospect of many health, environmental or income targets being achieved unless action is taken to address water problems.
Villagers collecting water from the Wanbao built pumping and filter station at War Tann village.
U Aung Paw and his son, Kaung Myat, at Doan Taw village.
“Wanbao gave us pumps and this filter, the water is plentiful and clean. But in the evening everyone comes here wanting water, we need another filter.”
Given that 70% of Myanmar’s population suffer from “energy poverty” we have invested heavily in relieving our local communities from this hardship to achieve “shared prosperity”.
We are very proud to say that the lives of almost 7,500 people in our community have been transformed by having electricity.
Pylon outside Kan Taw village.
U Kyaw Tim and his daughters in Kan Taw new village. “Electricity means my grandson can watch television whenever he likes. He knows so much than I did at his age.”
Education is not just a way to escape poverty; it is a way of fighting it and ensuring it never comes back. No community has succeeded to overcome hardship without education. Education and learning empower people to transform their lives. It is a great source of pride for us and our neighbours that 1,127 students are now attending schools that Wanbao has built and are using books that we have provided. This is Sagaing’s and Myanmar’s future generation.
The Wanbao built school at Whet May new village.
U Win Ko, the Assistant Head Master of the school at Mine Town. “The building is perfect for the children. I can’t imagine a better school. But next we need a staff room where the teachers can confer.”
We are proud to have a medical team which treats 3,000 people per month. We offer free medical care for the whole area surrounding our two mines. The mobile clinic which has been set up has treated over 50,000 villagers since its inception. We offer special regular medical care to expecting mothers as well as regular follow-up check-ups for mother and child.
Wanbao Medical Team at Doan Taw village. Poni standing outside the clinic at Doan Taw.
“If this clinic wasn’t here, the nearest place is Monywa. That is such a long journey if you feel sick. I am waiting for my friend. So many of my friends benefit.”
Road improvements are a way to connect villagers to one another and to make sure that they are safe for them, their livestock and cars to travel on. Connectivity is the route out of social and economic exclusion to a better tomorrow.
Students, from MoeKyoPyin North, on the Wanbao built road linking the village to the school.
U Win Khin and his family. “With this tractor, you feel every bump, these roads are much easier to travel on.”
Religion and faith are important to our communities. This is why they have asked us to refurbish a number of monasteries and pagodas as well as build new ones. We feel blessed that we can play a small part in their spiritual wellbeing.
Pagoda at Doan Taw village.
Byin Nyaw Batha at the Doan Taw pagoda. “We are grateful to Wanbao. The previous pagoda was destroyed by an earthquake. It is important. The villagers come here to pray that the Buddha will help them fulfil their wishes for the future.”
Letter from the Managing Director
If you were you to ask me, as Managing Director of Myanmar Wanbao, what are our aims for 2014 for our community relations and impacts, I would simply say that we want to do better!
And we have already started this process. We feel we need to get the villagers even more involved in “owning” the community investment to make choices and set their own priorities. I want every villager and village to know that we are here for them, listening and responding to their needs.
We want to move beyond traditional CSR to support local industrial development, and we have brought in international experts to help us with this. We are aligning our business strategy with our community involvement. The aim for this is twofold: to create more sustainable employment in the area and region but also to sow the first seeds of industrialisation in this area. By creating forward- and backward-linkages though local procurement, we hope to create the widest possible supplier network around us. This will help promote sustainable development that will extend beyond the eventual decommissioning of the mine. This will empower the villagers and give them more skills, and control over their lives.
We are also working with our other partners such as the local government on a coordinated community strategy to make sure we achieve better local outcomes.
We also intend to measure how well we are doing with our above targets.
So stay posted.
2014 is going to be a busy and very productive year for our community involvement. We want to share a better and brighter tomorrow with our community. We will not rest until we do so.
Managing Director, Myanmar Wanbao
Managing Director Geng Yi at a textile factory in Salingyi