Growing social impact programs focus on community needs

In 2016, the cumulative investment in Ma’aden’s community initiatives in our mining regions was SAR27.96 million — more than a 300 percent increase compared with the SAR8.53 million spent in 2015. The investments were spread across 24 initiatives.

The investments came from an approved social spend budget pool that stands at over SAR201 million at the end of 2016. Seven projects were completed during the year and the remaining 17 projects are in progress. New projects are approved each year, adding to the number of community initiatives and delivering more social impact.

HRH Princess Fahda Bint Saud Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the President of Al Faisaliya Women’s Welfare Society with Yahia Al Shangiti, Ma’aden gold and base metals VP
sign the ‘Golden Hand’ initiative under which women are taught skills that enable them to be self-employed

Our investments continue to address the diverse needs of the communities hosting our mines and neighboring areas. Infrastructure, education and training projects accounted for bulk of our social performance funds, followed by health and welfare, water and sanitation, sports, culture and heritage and donations to charities.

Our community investments are guided by the Ma’aden Community Management System (CMS), adopted in 2013. The CMS guidelines ensure that our investments deliver positive social impact and result in qualitative changes in people’s lives. The programs conceived under the system are monitored using clearly defined key performance indicators that help determine each operation’s level of community engagement.

CMS is aligned with international best practice standards including those of AA 1000 and the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

Based on the CMS, we have built the Ma’aden community framework which includes multiple performance indicators related to community engagement, local hiring, local buying and social investment. We assess our sites’ performance against these indicators to arrive at the average annual community framework score, both at the corporate level and for each site.

As our aspirational theme states, Ma’aden makes a conscious effort to be a welcomed neighbor in an empowered local ecosystem – which means that we actively engage with the communities, listen to their concerns and requirements and take informed decisions on our social investments.

CMS recognizes that local community trust and approval are essential for us to grow as a mining enterprise. Before the launch of a new project, we conduct a detailed social impact assessment (SIA) – an approach that we have been applying even to the mines that have been in operation before we adopted the SIA policy. In each SIA, we lay down a full description of the hosting communities and their social processes, consult with them on the main issues, identify potential talent and a suppliers pool that we can integrate in our business.

In 2015, we established the Ma’den Higher Community Initiatives Committee (MHCIC), chaired by the CEO and comprising six other senior executives. It monitors our progress in delivering a strategic and empowered ecosystem to ensure that our initiatives deliver highly positive results for the communities that host our operations.

The MHCIC charter declares that all community initiatives should be supported by a business case linked to Ma’aden’s core business, identified social impacts and business risks. Our social responsibility programs will build on existing structures and capacities where possible, and align with national development plans and priorities.

Mahd Ad Dhahab cultural center
In 2016, we completed the construction of the community cultural center building at Mahd Ad Dhahab, where our oldest gold mine is located. We have already handed over the SAR19 million facility to Namaa Al Munawara, which will manage the center. Namaa Al Munawara is a non-profit organization in charge of the Al Munawara Endowment and is headed by Prince Faisal Bin Salman, Governor of Madinah Province.

The Mahd cultural center has been recognized as one of the most modern buildings in the region. It is our single largest investment from amongst our many community initiatives. The complex will play a major role in strengthening the local ecosystem supporting economic and social development in the region.

Namaa Al Munawara is planning to host a business incubation laboratory within the building. Ma’aden has already committed SAR5 million for the business incubation facility, which will encourage and enable local people to build new businesses using local resources. The development of local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is one of the key focus areas of Namaa Al Munawara.

Focus on education
A significant part of our investments in ongoing community projects in remote regions is allocated to the education sector. We are collaborating with the Ministry of Education and a national education service provider to support the construction and management of two schools of excellence in Arar and Turaif. Besides investing capital, our Human Capital staff are involved in an enrichment program that targets high school students and teachers in the northern region. The two schools will begin classes in the 2017-18 academic year.

In other programs in the education sector, Ma’aden has enrolled six top graduates of the Saudi Mining Polytechnic – born out of our collaboration with Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC) – at the King Abdulaziz University (KAU) in a bridging program that may lead to a bachelor’s degree in geology.

Enabling rural women
Another Ma’aden community program that is making a significant social impact is the Golden Hand training program for rural women. The program was developed and implemented in partnership with the Al Faisaliya Women’s Welfare Society and has the goal of enabling women in rural and developing regions to be self-employed and establish home-based businesses.

Under the Golden Hand initiative, 80 Saudi women in Mahd Ad Dhahab province received training in sewing, cooking, computer use and beauty care. The program was launched on the basis of a joint study carried out by Ma’aden and Al-Faisaliya Women’s Welfare Society, which identified the important role women play in building community prosperity when they acquire special skills. We invested a total of SAR770,700 in the program over 2015 and 2016.