Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Ready to Beat Malaria





Over the past five years, Golden Star has implemented a number of initiatives to decrease the number of malaria cases reported amongst our workforce by two-thirds. These initiatives include the spraying of residential buildings and offices, the supply of insect repellent sprays to our employees and health education and mitigation initiatives, including pathology testing and anti-malarial treatments. 

In line with our values to be a malaria safe company, Golden Star organized a training session for our employees and for the people living in our host communities (Malaria Safe). This training day was held in partnership with the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs for Private Sector Malaria Prevention (PSMP).

 At Golden Star, our people are our greatest asset so we are committed to ensuring they work safely and stay healthy. In recognition of World Malaria Day, we carried out an education program on how to prevent malaria amongst our workforce and we gave 2,000 insecticide treated nets (ITNs) to our employees. This event was organized in partnership with International SOS.
GSR employees receiving their ITNs









GSR employees championing our malaria safe company











The Mine Maintenance team taking part in the ITN distribution























Let’s find out employees take on the ITN distribution and management decision…



Abena Asante, Corporate Responsibility team member
“The success of a company is highly dependent on the wellbeing of its employees. I believe the gesture done by GSR is a step toward ensuring good health and wellbeing, which is number 3 on the SDG goals. Over the years, malaria has been recorded as one of the most serious diseases in Africa. I thank the management of GSR for investing socially in our lives to help curb this. I hope that in subsequent occasions, the gesture will be extended beyond its employees. Thank you GSR for my long-lasting insecticide net. Medase.”


Michael Hurtubise, GSR Group Internal Audit

“I would like to thank management for thinking about the wellbeing and health of employees, it is very much appreciated. Malaria is a very serious illness and I believe the net will go a long way towards preventing it.” 




Bright Kyei Baffour, International SOS
Malaria is a very serious illness and one of the leading causes of death in children under five and pregnant women. The education and distribution of the treated net by Golden Star management and International SOS during malaria week will go a long way in preventing malaria in the years to come. I think it should be done often, especially the education, to help remind employees and their dependents about malaria prevention.

Richmond Kojo Yankah, GSR Environment Department
“Malaria is very a common disease in Africa and I am happy GSR management is helping to reduce it. Personally, I believe if we practice what we have been taught and ensure the safe use of the net, it will help prevent malaria. I thank management for their support and I hope that the next distribution will be extended to dependents and the communities”



Anthony Davies, GSR Health and Safety Department

“I want to thank management for their support on the net distribution so far. The health and safety department have taken time to draw a schedule to educate and train employees which will go a long way to help them understand the good use of the ITN and its importance. I see this net to be efficient, long lasting and accommodating based on my little experience. I think it was laudable for management to have come up with this initiative. It shows how the health and wellbeing of our employees is paramount to them. We appreciate your concern."


Denis Owusu, GSR Tailings Department 

“I thank management for the distribution of the treated net to its employees. Looking at our statistics, I think this will help reduce our malaria cases and also cut down the cost of malaria treatment for employees and their dependents. It is very important for employees to keep themselves healthy because a healthy employee leads to a healthy organization.”


Samuel Cudjoe, GSR Environment Department
“Many thanks to the GSR Management team for such an awesome initiative, in line with Goal 3 of the Sustainable Development Goals. I am optimistic this proactive measure will make huge strides in preventing and curbing malaria and other related diseases within the mine site and catchment communities. Thank you!”





Vincent Tremblay, GSR Geologist
This is a great initiative by management and it is something I will encourage to be done often.”









Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Protecting Our Future

Golden Star School Sustainability Club members with Golden Star employees

At Golden Star, safety is a VALUE. It is more important than a priority. Priorities may change, but at Golden Star our dedication to continuously improving safety standards will not.  Our people are our greatest asset and we are committed to their wellbeing.

The Chief Executive Officer and President of Golden Star Resources, Mr. Sam Coetzer, spoke in support of Golden Star’s plans to involve host communities, especially school pupils and students of our host communities, in promoting safety and other aspects of sustainability. 


Sam Coetzer, Chief Executive Officer, speaking at Prestea during safety week

With the support of the CEO and site leadership, and in partnership with key local schools and Ghana Education Services, Sustainability Clubs have been formed in two local schools. The two pilot clubs have 90 members each and include six executives. These clubs will provide social, environmental, and economic sustainability education and action over multiple generations. They will also act as a focal point for coaching youth leaders in health and safety conditions and practices that impact on society vulnerability.
 

Club executives at Prestea Senior High


Swearing in of new club executives at Golden Star School, Bogoso

The inauguration ceremony was attended by Golden Star employees, who addressed the club members about the need to integrate theoretical and practical approaches in upholding health, safety, environmental and civic responsibilities for enhanced sustainability.

Mr. Robert Gyamfi, Manager of Community Relations, advised current and prospective members that the motivation for joining the club should stem from one’s genuine conviction to champion the cause of sustainability.


Students expressed their excitement  for the club and the opportunity to  learn  about sustainability,  while using the club as a platform to provide leadership to other youth, and contribute to society. Let’s hear what the club members are most excited about…

Dorothy Agyemang - Golden Star School 
“Even though it is new, this club has already made me a better person. I have learnt a lot about how to sustain the environment in my own small way and I believe this change can help me change others. I will educate my class and my little sister to turn off lights and to not litter. I know that television also takes some amount of electricity so I will educate my younger sister so we don’t leave it on when we are doing other things. This can help reduce the amount of bills our parents pay. I thank Golden Star for helping me to be a better person through this club.”



Adom Ghattey - Golden Star School
“I think sustaining our environment can go a long way to help the next generation live a better life. In my church, the Sunday school class always goes out to buy water in the middle of lessons and after drinking the water, they litter the whole place with the containers. As a sustainability club member, what I have planned as a way to help sustain the environment, is to tell the minister of my church to buy a water dispenser for the Sunday school as the dispenser will help stop the littering and together we can build a nice environment.”



Emmanuel Dadson, Golden Star School
“I will write notes like “turn off the light when not in use” or “don’t litter the compound” and paste it on the walls and in our classrooms. It is shown in research that polythene bags take many years to decay and they lead to health related issues like cancer when they get into the body. I will teach my friends and those in my school not to eat food in polythene bags when they go to the canteen but in bowls because aside from the health issues, it will prevent the school from becoming dirty. Even making poly bags uses more trees and the end result is deforestation.” 





Patience Kwofie –Prestea Senior High
“I have learnt a lot through this club, especially on safety….how we arrange our classrooms and dormitories is part of safety because careless arrangements can make someone fall and get hurt. As a prefect and a club member, I will do what I can to help sustain the environment within my school.”






Agnes Kaku -Prestea Senior High
“I am very excited to be a member of the club. I have learnt so many things and am hoping to learn more through the training. Here in Prestea there is a lot of rubbish, which blocks gutters and they overflow when it rains. Now I know I will pick up and dispose of rubbish properly. I am proud to be a member because change has come to me.”





Emmanuel Ababio - Prestea Senior High 
“I am part of the wildlife club. Sustainability is broader and covers a lot of aspects which inspired me to join. The club has had a lot of impact so far. I can’t wait to start our projects and see more.”








Barbara Osafo - Prestea Senior High
“I didn’t know much about the club until a friend took me to a meeting and that was when I realized I have so much to learn and contribute to the society. Joining this club has been very educative and motivating and I believe to be able to change someone, there is the need to accept change yourself. I thank Golden Star for bringing their safety and environment values to us.”




What are the expectations?

The Headmistress and Club Masters of these schools had this to say:




Rosina Akoto, Headmistress – Golden Star School
“I am very impressed about the way and manner in which Golden Star has gone about forming this club. With the club coming in, I know and believe the environmental issues in this school with regards to littering will reduce. On behalf of the school, I want to expresses my appreciation to Golden Star for their effort so far. Kudus and more Grace.”



Elvis Kan-Uge, Club Master – Golden Star School
“If we talk about sustainability, it is not one-sided; energy conservation, environment, wellbeing and safety all falls under sustainability. My expectation as a Club Master is to ingrain in these children the habit of not littering, conserving energy, living a healthy life and protecting the environment. In the next 2 to 3 years, we expect the club to be a betterment club where we influence these kids, and as they improve on themselves they also influence others to build a sustainable community and environment.”



Dominic Kumah, Club Master – Prestea Senior High
“When management asked me to be the Club Master, I was very delighted because I believe in making the environment safe. With illegal mining endangering our environment and threatening our safety, I think this club will help us solve the little issues so that they don’t grow into big problems that will be above our control. So for me, I believe starting with these younger ones was a good initiative and am proud to be a master of such a club.”

Let’s hear about what the Golden Star champions for the sustainability club have to say about their motivation for supporting this initiative:


Samuel Ansah – Environmental Department
“I see this club as a very good initiative by Golden Star and I would be glad if it can extend to other schools within our municipality. Coaching younger people in safety and environmental culture is important because it becomes a way of life for them. They then become leaders and can educate others, especially those that did not benefit from education about how important our safety and environment is.”





Prince Okwasie Arhin - Safety Department
“It is a nice initiative to bring safety and environmental stewardship to these students. They can then help educate their parents, friends, neighbours and the community in which they live about how to build the environment and live a more sustainable life. I like the zeal of the students and how they have embraced this club with the willingness to learn.”





Augustina Yenzu - Community  Department
“Sustainability is about conserving resources for the benefit of all. If our safety culture in the workplace, home and school is poor, this may result in injury or the loss of human life. In the school environment it is important that classroom furniture, dormitory beds and other school items are arranged well to prevent accidents. Rubbish can also cause issues and must be placed in a bin or nominated areas in the school. I believe strongly that the formation of the sustainability club will help address a range of issues in our schools and in society”.

If you'd like to find out more about Golden Star and its approach to CSR, please visit www.gsr.com/responsibility.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Helping Babies Breathe



Neonatal Mortality

Ghana has gradually reduced its neonatal mortality rate although in 2016 it still remained more than two times higher than the Sustainable Development Goal target. Ghana is on par with the level achieved by the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) and lags behind those classified as low and middle income.  There is also a significant difference between the neonatal mortality rate in urban and rural areas.

It is widely acknowledged that supervised delivery reduces the risk of complications and infections during childbirth, thereby decreasing both neonatal and maternal mortality. The 2012 Ghana Demographic Health Survey shows that three quarters of all maternal deaths occur during birth and the immediate post-partum period as a direct result of low levels of skilled birth attendance. Ensuring care provided by skilled professionals during pregnancy and childbirth is a critical intervention for safe birth and motherhood.

Neonatal resuscitation training in 2015

In 2015 Golden Star and the Golden Star Development Foundation partnered to bring the Project C.U.R.E. Helping Babies Breathe program to our Wassa East catchment communities. The 4-day neo-natal resuscitation training for 40 health professionals resulted in immediate tangible benefits.

In a brief testimony Ms. Comfort Yamoah, Physician Assistant and Head of Ateiku sub-district health directorate at the time, observed that the training was a tremendous opportunity for improved delivery skills. She noted the program had led to improved neonatal survival and reduced referrals to other facilities, and the supply of equipment was well-timed as most facilities lacked these resources.

The District Public Health Nurse, Ms. Patience Otoo, said that neonatal death had decreased from 1.1% to 0.06% per 100 live births from 2014 to 2015 in just one year since the program inception!

With the success of the program, in 2017 Golden Star raised funds to support two further Helping Babies Breathe programs. They were conducted for over 70 health professionals from our Prestea Huni-Valley and Wassa Amenfi districts in March 2018!

Widening the Scope of the Project

With the objective of bringing neonatal resuscitation training to our other catchment communities, in 2018 Golden Star again partnered with Project C.U.R.E., Ghana Health Services and the Ministry of Health to deliver the invaluable Helping Babies Breathe Program.

The Helping Babies Breathe program was  delivered to over 70 nurses and encompassed additional Master training for six of the program participants.

Trainees in a practical session

All successful participants were provided with resuscitation and suction kits, as well a certificate of participation. Master Trainer kits were also provided to each of the six Master trainers, who will now provide ongoing training within the Ghana Health Services system to further expand the availability of skilled birth assistance. 


Helping Babies Breath trainees and Master trainers

Project C.U.R.E facilitating the Helping Babies Breath (HBB) Training

Immediate Impact

Professionals from Wassa Akropong Government Hospital, Prestea Government Hospital, Esikuma CHPS, Insu Siding CHPS, Aboso Health Centre, Himan Health Centre and Bogoso Health Centre participated in the training, with Master trainers also selected from amongst these locations. 

Within less than a month, the Master trainers at the Bogoso Health Centre had already conducted ‘second generation’ training session to the wider staff group from the centre, with a further 20 people already trained under the program.

Trainees in a round table discussion with instructors

So let’s find out what the participants see as the impact of the program:


Wassa-Akropong Government Hospital


Evelyn            Margaret            Bernice            Zakia              Millicent

“I have attended workshops before but this workshop is a very important one. Neonatal mortality in the district and Ghana is still high. This training has really made an impact on me and I know it will have a great impact on my community. I really appreciate Golden Star and its partners.”

“I am really impressed and excited, having learnt a lot and improved my skills. I believe it will go a long way to improve the way we go about things and I am very grateful.”

“This is one of the best and most powerful workshops I have ever had.”

“This workshop has been very educative and has enlightened me to some new practices and has opened my eyes to the bad ones we practiced before. I thank Golden Star and their partners for a well-considered program and a job well done.”

“It was a very interesting and helpful program to me as an individual and my clients. The training made me realize that we were doing so many things in the wrong manner. Now that we know the standard and best practice, we will do our best to make all changes implemented.”

Bogoso Health Centre

  Sarah                  Daphne

“Being a master trainer has helped and benefited me in so many ways and I am very thankful that I was selected. In fact it has shaped and improved my skills and it has also helped my facility because I have been able to train some of our staff. Soon the others will follow and every worker in my facility will be ambassadors of helping babies breathe!”

“As a Master trainer my learning is more intense and I am aiming to create a safe and positive learning environment like I had. We are teaching birth attendants about how to care for newborns to reduce neonatal mortality. Practice they say enhances perfection. I thank my facilitators and Golden Star and we promise to be neonatal live savers.”

Prestea Government Hospital

   Jonathan               Linda     

“The program has been very effective and purposeful and I have learnt a lot of new skills. Though we were doing the things expected of us in our facilities, they were not the best.  I learnt new things like how important it is to ensure skin to skin contact between the mother and the baby to ensure warmth for six hours before a bath and the best way to treat and talk to our clients. Well done Golden Star.”

“The training taught me a lot of things and with this knowledge acquired, I trust that I will be able to improve the knowledge to others as well. As a master trainer this will help me train the staff and organize refresher trainings for them, most especially those of us in the maternity unit so that we keep ourselves updated all the time.”

Esikuma CHPS, Insu Siding CHPS, Aboso Health Centre, Himan Health Centre

        Wisdom         Helena          Rakia             Mercy             Helena            

“I thank the organizers and our facilitators for equipping some of us with these important and educative best standard practices.”

“As a master trainer I have acquired a lot of knowledge and potential that will help me train my colleagues and keep our babies alive. Being part of the master trainers has built my confidence so much and is an opportunity to help others as well. I am grateful to my instructors and Golden Star and I promise to implement what I have learnt.”

“This training is very educative and has taught us how to prepare an emergency plan so that during delivery we can manage cases without panicking.”

“I am grateful and happy as a master trainer. It has improved my skills in neonatal resuscitation and things have been put in place to train the rest of the workforce in and outside our district. Thank you Golden Star for always having us at heart.”

“I believe this training is very necessary and important. I didn’t know that not every baby needs suctioning and this has empowered me to do more and to address specific needs for each baby.”

Master trainers in a demonstration session with their trainees

One Last Word

Philipa Varris, Golden Star’s Vice President of Corporate Responsibility conducts periodic reviews of all partnership programs to check the ongoing sustainability of the initiatives. Hear what she has to say:

“When conducting one of my reviews I was able to meet some health centre staff that had been trained under the Helping Babies Breathe initiative. I asked one young nurse what he thought and rather than saying how valuable the program was, he just pointed to a small toddler under a nearby tree.  I shrugged my shoulders as if to say “what do you mean?” and before I could finish, he said “I saved that baby’s life because of your program!” His declaration brought tears to my eyes. A precious life saved! Even more importantly, he was a second or third generation trainee – he had not been trained by Project CURE, but had been trained by one of the Ghana Health Services Master trainers! That is sustainability!”

If you'd like to find out more about Golden Star and its approach to CSR, please visit www.gsr.com/responsibility



Friday, 2 March 2018

Leading Ladies



 



Advancing the Status of Women

As we celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, 2018, this year’s theme calls for us to “Press for Progress” for equality, in terms of pay and status for women. The World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report shows that if the rate of change does not improve, it will be over 200 years until real gender parity is achieved.

Golden Star recognizes the critical link between advancing the status of women and reducing the poverty burden and we are focused on empowering and supporting women.


Women in the Workplace


Lillian Awuah, longhole stope drill operator at the Wassa Underground Gold Mine

Golden Star employs women throughout our business. The mining industry is traditionally male dominated, but of our direct employees, 12% are female.  We employ 250 women in total and women represent almost 10% of senior staff (including three female vice presidents and two female Board members). This demonstrates our commitment to providing employment opportunities for women.

Valuing our Diversity


Members of the Wassa branch of the Golden Star Ladies Club

To further strengthen support systems for women, the Golden Star Ladies Club was inaugurated in 2010 to empower members to be advocates in the communities in which they live and to provide support, education and forums for uniting women.

Interest in the club lead to the establishment of branches at each mine site. With over 100 members, each branch develops and runs programs specific to their site and community needs.

Whilst the Ladies’ Club breast cancer awareness program has gained significant kudos, particularly through winning the Ghana Mining Industry Award Corporate Social Investment Project of the Year (see our December 2017 blog), it is not the only program of the Ladies Club. Read on to find out more…


Girl Child Education

The Ladies’ Club supports a number of programs focused on the education of girls and women. Through its girl child education program, pupils are educated about personal hygiene and they are encouraged to undertake science and technology studies.  They are also shown that mining is not only a business for men. This is to encourage and empower girls to challenge themselves and realize their potential.


A young lady at a school built by the Golden Star Development Foundation

Blood Donation Programs

In 2017 the Ladies Club held blood donation exercises at each mine in support of local hospital blood banks.


Blood donation provides benefits to the donors and receivers, with blood donors realizing health benefits including a reduced risk of heart attack, cardiovascular disease and cancer.


Throughout the 2017/18 programs, over 190 people were screened for blood donation, of whom, 115 qualified, making a significant contribution to blood stocks and potentially saving over 300 lives!
 

Blood donation at Golden Star’s Bogoso/Prestea mine

Managers, team members, contractors and community turned out in support of the events, all with praise for the Golden Star Ladies Club for promoting such valuable initiatives within the workforce.

Anthony, Esther, Samuel, Boniface, Patricia, Theophilus, McDonald, Kobby, Emmanuel and Robert - just some of our blood donation heroes!
               
Dr Djabatey Darko, Medical Suprintendent - Prestea Government Hospital
“Blood is life, as a popular local saying goes. Hospitals need blood to save lives. That is why it is essential for hospitals to have a blood bank. I am most excited about the use of organized groups for donations, as a large amount of blood can be collected in a day. That is why I am full of thanks to the GSR Ladies for organizing this blood donation program. The blood donated will help save the lives of very ill children and our maternal cases as well. Just a tea cup of blood could mean life or death for a child!”

Christmas with the Kids

In Ghana, Christmas presents a unique opportunity for family re-unions, to share love, to have fun and to celebrate the birth of Christ. The Ladies Club captures this spirit with children’s Christmas parties for local  school children.


 Dance time with the kids

Whilst there is plenty of fun, the programs are also held to motivate children to aspire to realize their potential.



Francisca Amponsah, Student- Old Subri D.A
“This is the first time I have celebrated Christmas with Golden Star and it was such a fantastic event. I am very happy to see all my friends together playing and having fun. I had so much fun that I didn’t want to leave when the program finished. Please continue to organize this often to make us happy and proud.”




Jennifer, Gifty and Dennis all enjoyed the day

Maggie, Salomey and Andrew show that teachers can also have fun!

The teachers expressed their appreciation to Golden Star too and proposed that in future years the children could showcase their talents though singing, quizzes and poetry!

If you'd like to find out more about Golden Star and its approach to CSR, please visit www.gsr.com/responsibility