Senior Manager: Social Impact
De Beers Group
Josephine’s SDG Story began when she joined the mining industry in 2007 and came to understand that the mining industry has a pivotal role to play in our SDG goals journey. Over the past 13 years she has been exposed to understanding the difference the mining industry, and in particular the role that De Beers Group has played and continues to contribute towards the transformation of host communities. Her evolving role at De Beers Group took on an exciting evolution which has defined who she is today. At De Beers Group the company’s purpose is to Make Life Brilliant and this purpose clearly defines its existence and the SDGs is yet another part of that journey.
The organisation’s focus remains on achieving the SDGs by working with other partners in making a difference in all areas of its business value chain. This is always front of mind as the way to go in touching lives to leave a lasting positive legacy. Education is a key pillar that is part of our Building Forever strategy linked to Thriving Communities and continues to have a huge impact in communities.
SDG 4 Quality Education has always been Josephine’s passion both personally and at the workplace. Given the nature of her role, she required working with communities and focusing on education to build a solid foundation for the company’s host communities to prosper and thrive. Looking at the long-term impact of education it was clear that when they launched the Anglo-American Education programme in April 2018 the company was moving towards the right direction.
This will see the AASA Education programme being implemented at company’s biggest asset in South Africa, Venetia mine. She continues to be an active member of the Anglo American South Africa Education Steercom, her role is looking at providing strategic guidance on how they can improve on key areas of the programme, challenge thinking, and looking at the long-term impact of the education programme for Venetia mine were they are implementing the programme.
Working with the SDG Working Group continued to expand her role further by progressing collaboration with the UN Global Compact, and other key stakeholders that provided insights during the 2019 and 2020 Accountability Dialogue sessions. These annual sessions are platforms of sharing and listening to our stakeholders from Government, NGOs and other mining houses. More importantly these sessions serve as a robust sounding board to engage on key critical issues facing the mining industry, further outlining progress on implementation and areas of improvement.
Josephine’s constant link to Venetia Mine where the implementation of projects or programmes is aligned to SDGs, has seen a focus on strategic engagements with key role players in the Limpopo Province, which resulted in the sign-off of an MoU with the Limpopo Department of Education in South Africa. Her involvement with the Limpopo Development Education Trust, as a Trustee sustained her focus to continue to work with current and potential donors to grow the focus on education and further build on the good work undertaken in the Limpopo Province.
An Innovative approach was undertaken on how they engaged with stakeholders and key beneficiaries in the education programme during the Covid-19 pandemic. This saw support during the Covid-19 pandemic undertaken remotely for a said period and further support provided when schools were reopened in 2020 during the pandemic. The provision of cloth masks, PPE, and sanitizers proved to be much-needed support required by the 25 schools’ part of the Education programme at Venetia Mine. This support was further expanded to the organisation’s sites in the Free State and Northern Cape.
Her role as the Senior Manager of Social Impact did not just require a good understanding of impacts, risks, and how they positively and negatively have an effect on the business. However, it also continues to look at how the company can engage with other partners to find the solutions it faced with looking at SDGs such as No Hunger, No Poverty, Gender equality all of which are interconnected with SDG 4 Quality education. Each SDGs linked to the next was clear from the work she undertook on the SDG Mapping exercise, that saw a process to elevate the conversations and engagements with her colleagues and saw SDG reporting used to tell their story looking at the impact, challenges, and opportunities for the business.