ArcelorMittal Liberia says it subscribes to the basic ideal of relationship building with its host communities as the strong bond for all community organizing activities.
To promote peace, unity and common sense of dignity and human values, the company, since it signed the first mineral development agreement with Liberia, has placed community development at the center of its operation.
AML provides hundreds of local scholarships and international study grants for Liberians who hail from either Nimba, Bassa, or Bong counties.
A few years back, the Belgium-headquartered firm asked the government to permit the withholding of 20% of its social development funds to Grand Bassa, Nimba and Bong counties.
ArcelorMittal pays US$1.5 million to Nimba, US$1 million to Bassa and US$500,000 to Bong County each year.
Together with county authorities, ArcelorMittal uses this percentage of social development money to hire local contactors based in these counties to implement different projects that are resolved by the communities.
For example, in Grand Bassa, the company recently dedicated four projects from the 20% social development allotment. Worth more than US$288,000, the four projects are the Siahn Public School construction, located in Siahn Town, near kilometer 31; Gorblee School fencing project, in Compound #3 near kilometer 45; the FDA Market Construction, at FDA intersection near kilometer 58; and the Duwein Market construction project, located in Duwein, near kilometer 68. They were implemented by Liberian contractors that were independently vetted.
The remaining completed projects, yet to be dedicated, are the Wee Radio Station extension project in Compound #3, the construction of three handpumps in Neekreen Statutory District, and the construction of a community town hall in Moore’s Town, Buchanan.
From road rehabilitation to building schools and clinics, AML got host communities covered with meaningful development activities. Early this year, AML constructed three playgrounds in Grand Bassa, Bong and Nimba counties outside of its commitment to government.
This week, the company will launch and host a week-long football and kickball tournament among communities in AML operational areas in Nimba, Grand Bassa and Bong counties. The theme for the event is “Sporting Harmony: Sustaining Peace and Valuing our People”.
According to the company, “This theme emphasizes the role of sports in maintaining social harmony, fostering mutual respect and upholding the values that define us.”
Furthermore, the tournament makes way for a unique opportunity to connect with communities close to AML operations and demonstrate ArcelorMittal support to strengthen and build strong community engagement and protect its social license to operate.
To further strengthen ties with the locals, ArcelorMittal assigns community relations officers in each of the three counties it operates. They engage community members in problem-solving solutions to issues that affect them as one of the fundamental principles of social development.
This has proved to be one of most effective ways to achieve public good: involving community members in all activities—from identifying the relevant issues and making decisions about how to address them, to evaluating and sharing major issues concerning the company’s operations with them.