At MMG we mine for progress. We contribute to the sustainable development of our people, our host communities and our regions through strong partnerships based on regular and open dialogue, transparency and mutual respect. This ensures our investments are strategically aligned to needs identified by our stakeholders, and we work collaboratively with them to find long-term sustainable solutions.
In 2012, The 1000 Day Project was launched in Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR), in partnership between MMG, UNICEF and the Lao Women’s Union. The 1000 Day Project recognised the first 1000 days of life – from pregnancy until two years of age – as absolutely critical for intellectual and physical development. The project has been successful in reducing stunting and iron deficiency anaemia in children under two through community outreach, education, and provision of micronutrient supplements.
Over the course of six years, nearly 300,000 children in remote and marginalised communities in Lao PDR benefited from the project. One of the strengths of the project was the unique partnership formed between the involved parties, with each bringing their unique skills and resources to support the success of the initiative.
“At MMG, one of our aims is to create enduring relationships and tangible social development outcomes,” said MMG Executive General Manager Troy Hey. “This is hard to do, and needs sustained focus, and I think you can only get this working in partnership. In UNICEF we found a true partner with the skills and capability to create real and lasting change.”
In provinces where the 1000 Day Project was implemented, the proportion of children affected by stunting dropped by 25% and the proportion of children receiving the minimum number of meals per day rose by 60% . Over 5,000 health workers and volunteers were trained to provide support for families, significantly improving rates of immunisation and exclusive breastfeeding. The project was so effective that the Government of Lao PDR decided to adopt its approach in its national strategy, ensuring that early investments would continue to pay dividends for generations to come.
During the course of the 1,000 Day Project, MMG invested US$2.8 million, which included resources and support from our Sepon operation employees. While we no longer operate Sepon, the benefits of this project are still being realised in the south of Lao PDR and throughout the country.
“MMG’s investment for the long-term and willingness to work with all partners to test, innovate and scale the program is what has made the 1,000 Day Project the success that it is. Most importantly, children in Lao PDR are healthier,” said UNICEF Australia CEO Tony Stuart.
Case study: Helping Lao Children to Grow Healthy with ‘SuperKid’
Nina is two years old and lives in a remote village in Savannakhet Province, near the location of MMG’s Sepon mine. Nina’s mother, Davanah, participated in nutrition counselling with health care workers and Lao Women’s Union volunteers. She also participated in cooking demonstrations, and so Nina now enjoys a variety of nutritious foods including soup, fish, vegetables and rice, to which the SuperKid micronutrient supplement is added.
Davanah says that Nina has hardly ever been sick. Davanah is also expecting another baby and says, “I will follow the same advice I received from the health workers for my second child by breastfeeding for the first six months and then introducing other foods with SuperKid when my baby is a bit older.”
To read more about the 1,000 Day Project and key project highlights, click here.