Kamsar, Tuesday 9th june 2020 — Guinea Alumina Corporation announced that it has provided humanitarian and economic support to Guinea, particularly to the local communities in the Boké region in the fight against COVID-19.
GAC’s support includes engaging local community members in the production of soaps, masks and other protective equipment for local communities, employees and contractors; providing medical equipment to national health authorities; and raising awareness about preventive measures against the pandemic.
Some 450 temporary jobs have been created by GAC’s COVID-19 community support project. According to the United Nations, each worker in developing countries supports an average of seven family members. The project will potentially provide economic support to more than 3,000 people in the Boké region.
Aissata Beavogui, Director General and Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at GAC, said: “The UAE Government is providing assistance to many countries in their fight against COVID-19, including Guinea. As a UAE-owned company and proud corporate citizen of Guinea, we are following this example and extending our support to our host communities in these difficult times, not only on a humanitarian basis but also by supporting local economies through social entrepreneurship. We have already contributed to the fight against pandemics linked to the Ebola crisis five years ago, and we are now putting into practice the lessons we learned at the time.’
More than 400 women and young people in GAC’s host communities are producing hand-washing soap, which is then distributed by GAC to the communities themselves. Some 25,000 bars of soap have been produced to date.
GAC is paying 20 tailors to make facemasks for local communities. To date, 25,000 face masks have been distributed to households near GAC’s mining and port sites, as well as to GAC employees and subcontractors.
To promote handwashing, GAC has placed orders with local welding shops to produce handwashing stations – buckets and soap dispensers – which GAC has placed in public spaces in communities around its concession.
GAC is also supporting local communities by distributing locally sourced, staple foods, including rice, and sugar, contributing to food security during the pandemic.
To help raise awareness in communities about COVID-19 prevention measures, GAC provided its advertising resources as a contribution. Employees, including the union leader (Fanta Doukouré, who is also superintendent, Administration and Services) and Train loading superintendents, have recorded public service advertisements in local languages on topics including social distancing and the importance of hygiene, which run as advertisements on local radio stations. GAC has also replaced its billboards in the region with messages on preventive measures.
At the national level, GAC is supporting Guinea’s response to COVID-19 by donating an estimated $200,000 of medical equipment to Guinea’s Health National Agency through the Mines Ministry.
The development of the GAC project, which began production in August last year, was the largest greenfield investment in Guinea in the last 40 years.