Bannerman Energy was a winner of the highly prestigious 2023 ESG Forum Award at the African Mining Indaba in Cape Town.
The Award, in the coveted category of Community Engagement, was won by Bannerman for its Early Learner Assistance Program in Namibia.
African Mining Indaba, in its 29th year, is the largest African Mining conference globally, ranking its ESG Forum Award as one of the most important Environment Social Governance (ESG) awards in the world.
Bannerman’s Early Learner Assistance Program was conceived in 2011 with the goal of reducing the rate of children dropping out of primary school, an outcome that would typically embed children into the poverty cycle. In designing the program, Bannerman consulted several local education officers, school principals, education specialists, community leaders and its own staff. The proposed program received strong support from then Minister of Education, the late Dr. Abraham Iyambo, who launched the ELA Program in Omaruru in March 2011.
The program involves approaching the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture to nominate under-privileged students most at risk of dropping out who are identified with the assistance of the school principal. These students are then provided with uniforms and materials to encourage them to remain in school and support the student and their family. The Company obtains the names, shoe sizes and uniform specifications from this selected list of students, with Bannerman employees then personally handling the logistics of ordering, packaging, and distributing the ELA packages.
The ELA Program initially started in the Erongo Region where Bannerman’s Etango Uranium Project is located and has now been extended to six regions of Namibia (Omaheke, Hardap, Kunene, Kavango West and Otjozondjupa) at the request of the Minister of Mines and Energy.
To date, more than 3,300 learners have benefited from the program. The Bannerman team travels to remote schools to personally deliver the ELA packages. Employees also give presentations to learners that encourage them to stay at school and follow their dreams.
Bannerman has also sought to make the ELA program “open source” with the aim of encouraging other mining companies to adopt and improve the initiative within their own host communities. In 2022, Namibia Rare Earths became the next company to adopt the ELA Program, rolling it out into the Khorixas area in which it operates.