By Sam A. Kasimba, PhD Candidate, NTNU.
Between 29th September and 20th October 2015, I was in Ghana for my preliminary fieldwork with an objective to know more about my chosen study areas. In the process, I managed to visit two trust fund offices: Newmont Akyem Development Foundation (NAkDeF) in Birim North District, Eastern Region, and AngloGold Ashanti Obuasi Community Trust Fund in Obuasi Municipal District, Ashanti Region. Newmont Akyem and AngloGold Ashanti mining companies respectively fund the two foundations. They both have a common objective, of sharing revenues with the local communities affected by companies’ gold mining activities.

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A section of Obuasi Municipal town, also known as “Sikakrom” or the rich city. Photo: Sam A. Kasimba October 2015

In 2014, the Newmont Gold Ghana, with its Newmont Akyem branch joined hands with the local community, traditional leaders and other stakeholders forming the Newmont Akyem Development Foundation (NAkDeF). The aim of establishing the foundation was to advance the company`s participation and contribution to sustainable development within Akyem`s communities (Afosu, New Abirem, Old Abirem, Mamanso, Yayaaso, Adausena, Adjenua, Hweakwae, Ntronang and Yaw Tano). A board and a secretariat, which has an office located within the Akyem resettlement community and about a kilometer from the mining company offices, run the foundation. The resettlement area was constructed by Newmont to cater for the community members who lost residential and farm lands to mining activities.

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Me standing at a bus stop constructed by Newmont Akyem as part of the Akyem resettlement project. Photo: Sam A. Kasimba October 2015

The AngloGold Ashanti established the Obuasi Community Trust Fund in 2012, promising a contribution of 1% annual post-tax profits from its operations in Ghana to advance developments in the communities around their operation areas (Obuasi, Amanse, Adansi North, and Adansi South). The fund supports health, education, and youth programs, and cultural activities. The trust fund`s office (the secretariat) is outside the mining company’s main entrance. The fund has three permanent management bodies (a board, a steering committee and a secretariat).

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A school built for the children of AngloGold Ashanti employees in Obuasi. Photo: Sam A. Kasimba October 2015

I am satisfied with the preliminary fieldwork. It was adventurous and at the same time challenging as it was my first time in Ghana. I managed to get good contacts that I intend to use for my extensive fieldwork scheduled for 2016. I will do my best to keep you posted on this journey.