Sharing the opportunity for education in Burkina Faso
Since 2011, Sarama has been a welcome guest and participant in Burkina Faso’s Norkama district, a village situated on the company’s Tankoro permit 400km south-west of the capital of Ouagadougou.
In October 2016, Sarama completed a social project distributing educational materials that would reach more than 5,000 children in Burkina Faso. A two-year public private partnership, Sarama joined efforts with Gilligan Group who had established a charity focused on improving learning opportunities in Africa. Skye Gilligan of Gilligan Group, a communications consultant to the mining industry, had packed a 20ft sea container with educational and sporting equipment for distribution to poverty stricken communities in Africa. All she needed was a partner with a local presence and the capacity to undertake an effective distribution strategy.
Aligning perfectly with Sarama’s focus on initiatives that support the advancement of women and children, as well as their recent construction of three new classrooms at Norkama Primary, Sarama invested significant time and resources in developing the most effective distribution strategy possible that would eventually reach 26 schools including 3,147 primary students, 1,914 senior students, and more than 100 senior students studying outside of Norkama Village. In addition, administration materials and equipment was also given to four CSPS Health Centres and various local Administration Centres.
The formation of this public private partnership was transformational in terms of what many miners battle to do alone. For the small investment required to ship the sea container and negotiate customs and transport, Sarama received more than A$100,000 worth of equipment which Skye had gathered through her professional and personal networks.
It is difficult for host communities to understand budgets, shareholder value or the risk of spending significant money on exploration for no tangible return - nor should they have to. We may hold the mineral rights but at the end of the day, we are guests on their land and it is our responsibility to build trust and have a shared understanding of the issues impacting their livelihood and well-being and to balance the needs of all stakeholders. We view ourselves as a member of the local community and by localising and being innovative and realistic about the way in which we give support, we have been able to achieve far more in terms of social development and the advancement of women and children, than we would have if simply trying to meet a specified dollar value aligned with our exploration spend.
Sarama and Skye Gilligan would also like to recognise the investment and time of other corporate sponsors who made this project possible – Tony Berson of Airland Logistics, and Sergio Teixeria of Cristal JBE Office Choice.
In the last three years, Sarama’s investments have contributed to a 50% increase in student numbers and a notable 60% increase in females at Norkama Primary, which in 2016 became an official Government exam centre.
Watch the handover ceremony video between the Principal of Norkarma Primary, Sarama Resources and Skye Gilligan.