As a mine operator in Paragominas in Parà, Brazil, we perform some of our most important community investments there. These include building schools, social centers for vulnerable children and adolescents, community infrastructure, cultural and sports facilities as well as health care. In 2011, we finalized construction of a technical college and a center for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. Local activities at Hydro sites around the world typically include children's education and sports activities, culture and assistance to needy children. Our sponsorship activities also include support of the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo and an agreement with Save the Children Norway.
Other important contributions are the transfer of competence that takes place through our cooperation with universities and research institutions. This includes scholarships to selected PhD aspirants working in our business areas. Hydro is sponsoring professorships in Norway and Qatar and has several adjunct professors among its own employees. Alunorte, in Brazil, started in June 2011 - in cooperation with the University of Pará - a program to further develop 26 of its engineers. Through a two-year program combining work and studies, they get the opportunity to achieve a Master's degree within process, maintenance or automation.
Hydro reviewed its sponsorship and partnership strategy in 2011. The new strategy builds on:
People (education, humanitarian aid, culture) Planet (energy and climate change, recycling, resource management Possibilities (science, technology and innovation, design)
Hydro's social investments and sponsorships should be included in at least one of these categories. To support the strategy and improve our overview, we initiated a reporting pilot on sponsorships, charitable donations and community investments. Outcomes for Hydro and the society are also included in the reporting requirements.
Community investments in Hydro's new activities in Pará, Brazil have mostly been continued after the acquisition. Further investments will be based on current and future stakeholder dialog.
Qualifying local youth
In 2011, Hydro opened a new technical college in Paragominas in Pará, Brazil. The school is run by the federal organization SINAI and is an important contribution to educating skilled workers for the industry and giving local youth the possibility of an education. The first 100 students started in August 2011, and 65 of the students are apprentices with Hydro. At full capacity, the college may have 600 students from Paragominas and the neighboring communities. Since the start-up in 2006, the Paragominas Mine has had 800 apprentices, of which 80 percent are still with Hydro. Apprenticeship programs are common at most major Hydro sites. Our extrusion plant Acro, also in Brazil, started in 2011 an apprentice program for 19 adolescents. For many of these, the apprenticeship represents an opportunity for a better life.
Giving something back
Most Hydro plants are involved in social activities, which mean giving something back to the local communities. Hydro's extrusion plant in North Liberty, Indiana, in the U.S., has a long tradition of providing monetary contributions to non-profit agencies. Employees raise money through sales of homemade breakfast and lunch food items, hand-crafted items, raffles, cash, and food donations. In 2011, Hydro's St. Augustine plant in Florida was given special recognition by the St. John's County School District and was honored as the Outstanding Business Partner. The plant has a continuing partnership with local Hartley Elementary School, and has been donating both time and funds to the Advanced Reader program for the past five years.
"Education for all"
Alunorte and Albras are situated in the community of Barcarena, which has 100,000 inhabitants and is one of the fastest-growing communities in Brazil. Many of the inhabitants have a low education level. Since 2011, Alunorte has cooperated with the municipality of Barcarena in an extensive program to improve educational performance in Barcarena, including higher enrollments and lower school truancy. The program aims at improving the children's and youngsters' environmental and citizenship knowledge. Sport is also an important part of the program for the youngsters, with participation in the annual Norway Cup soccer tournament in Oslo, Norway as the ultimate incentive. For the first time, a girls' team participated in Oslo together with a boys' team. Participants in Norway Cup are chosen according to good academic records and school attendance, in addition to their athletic skills. In 2011, about 2,500 students from six to 20 years participated in one or several parts of the program.
Høyanger plant heating local community
In Høyanger, Norway, Hydro delivers excess heat from its smelter to public buildings in the municipality, including the local swimming pool. Even a football pitch can be played upon through the winter, thanks to ground heating. Other Hydro smelters also have a long tradition of supplying excess heat to benefit the local community.