By: Gustavo Cabrera, CSR Regional Director, Central and South America
In this, the final instalment of our three-part series on education, Gustavo Cabrera reports on Goldcorp’s recent educational initiatives and partnerships in Central and South America
Goldcorp invests significantly in education and skills training in Central and South America. Our strategy is to engage with local communities to identify needs and set specific goals that respond to those needs. In partnership with local organizations, we seek to support local capacity building, and to contribute to the social and economic development of the region.
Promoting public education in Guatemala
Because life-long learning begins in childhood, the Marlin mine has a long history of support for primary and secondary education. Between 2002 and 2008, school enrolment in the communities near Marlin mine increased by 53%, on average, despite minor changes in population, reflecting increased economic stability created by employment at the mine.
This past September, a cohort of 51 teachers completed a training course supported by Goldcorp. The course was geared towards capacity building and leadership development for teachers with the goal of benefiting over 1,600 students in San Miguel Ixtahuacán, Sipacapa and six other nearby communities.
Marlin is proud to support government established and certified educational programs as a way of boosting funding for public education. In 2013 alone Goldcorp funded the construction, renovation and repairs of dozens of classrooms, and the installation of five fully-equipped computer centres in the department of San Marcos. Goldcorp also funded the salaries of 34 teachers and provided 145 scholarships to help students continue their studies. In an area where few students historically go further than primary school, our scholarships are geared to encourage students to continue to secondary school and beyond.
Promoting literacy for employees and families at the Marlin mine
According to CONALFA (Guatemala’s national literacy authority), 17% of the nation’s population can neither read nor write. Among Marlin’s mine workers, that number is closer to 10%. With this in mind, a group of mine supervisors proposed a free program to improve literacy at the mine.
The program was developed in partnership with CONALFA, with the backing of the Ministry of Education and was offered to those with a desire for self-improvement. In 2012, the first 70 graduates received their government diplomas. We’ve had personal reports of parents proudly showing off their newfound reading skills, and, for the first time, being able to help their children with schoolwork. In 2013, the program continues, with the ultimate goal of 100% literacy among mine employees.
Education for economic development in Santa Cruz, Argentina
Our Cerro Negro project is under development near the town of Perito Moreno, in northern Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. In an area that is seeking to diversify its economic development options, Goldcorp looked for ways to partner on education and training that contribute to the skills base in order to provide socio-economic improvement that will last beyond the life of the mine.
Among several programs, we supported an eight-month professional-level workshop in the fabrication of industrial workwear, and a workshop on the creation of artisanal chocolate products. The workshops were organized in cooperation with community institutions and authorities with the intent of developing skills that have the potential to grow from home-based work to successful small businesses. Goldcorp provided the facilities and materials, and paid the salary of the professionals who taught the workshops. We also offer a number of programs that benefit students, families, and local education systems, such as university and sports scholarships and internship programs.
Education and training benefit the entire community
Our contributions to education and training programs encompass the full scope of life-long learning. We provide needed funding for primary and secondary students, their faculty and institutions to strengthen the labour pool and aid the future economic development of the region. We also support basic adult education, from literacy programs to training in artisanal crafts and small business management, to help develop the local skill base and build a sustainable regional economy.
For more on Goldcorp’s support for educational initiatives, see our previous two posts, or visit our Community page.