Our Corporate Social Responsibility: Care and Sustainable Development
Statement about the Current Situation
Many of you will be aware of the problems which we have have faced in Myanmar. Since the events of November 2012, our mine has not been able to operate. It is important to from the outset that we state that we deeply care for the kind and generous people of Myanmar and that we totally deplore any harm coming to them. We know that there is some opposition to the mine. While this has diminished, we are aware that there remains some misunderstandings and reservations about the mine in certain quarters. But our will to reach out has not diminished. We have endured great financial hardship due to the stoppage, but this has not stopped our Corporate Social Responsibility plans from going forward, if anything, they have been expanded.
A majority of the people of Letpadaung see this mine to be of huge importance to them and the people of Myanmar in general. The revenue and development opportunities it will bring are essential if Myanmar is to develop and give its people modern education, healthcare, infrastructure comparable to those being enjoyed in countries where this development has already taken place.
We at Myanmar Wanbao have made many positive contributions to the lives of the people around us, but we recognise that we have not communicated our intentions and plans to the people of Myanmar in a satisfactory manner. This meant that we experienced difficult times in our relationship with our community during 2013. The people spoke and we have listened to them. The lessons we learned from this have informed our CSR and communication efforts and we are glad to report that we have turned a corner. We shall continue to strive for better and closer relationships with our community and do all within our means to create and maintain strong and durable bonds between us and our neighbours.
We are confident that our CSR program which is driven by the local people themselves and the employment and small businesses that will be generated by the mine begins as it develops, will complete the task of fully integrating us into the local community which has become our home and extended family.
In designing our community programme it was very important to us that we aligned our community work with the local needs of our villagers as well as with Myanmar's national development goals. It became imperative for us to hear the voices of our local communities so that they played an active role in shaping our community investment. It equally became critical that we identified Myanmar's national development goals and found ways to marry our community investment to these needs.
To Create "Inclusive" Growth
Our communities asked us for many things and many forms of assistance. We prioritised in consultation with them the needs that ranked highly for them as well as those that played a critical role in poverty reduction and improving their quality of life. This is why the provision of healthcare, electricity, clean water, education as well as road construction became a cornerstone of our community work. We knew also the importance of faith and religion to the spiritual wellbeing of our communities so we refurbished old monasteries and built new ones.
To have local "people driven" community assistance we created our Community Social Development (CSD) team and Committee. This was the best way for us to know and hear the needs of our neighbouring villages. The CSD team was made up of village leaders and elders. The CSD committee, which is the highest decision maker of CSD work, is also made up of representatives of other stakeholders such as the local government, villagers, Wanbao and NGOs.