By the end of 2015, there were 15,000 people involved in the construction of the two largest works in the Country, Gibe III and GERD, 97% of which came directly from the local communities.
When they first entered the sites, many of these people had no training. They came from the world of agriculture and were not familiar with construction techniques and with construction site work. Salini Impregilo ensured that each one was provided with targeted, dedicated training and in the two-year period between 2014 and -2015 alone, it provided 150,000 hours of training to workers at Gibe III and GERD.
Carpenters, bricklayers, joiners, drivers; each person involved in the projects found their own career path, accompanied during their training by the Group technicians.
Not just workers but students: the Group's commitment is also closely focused on the field of education. The scope of the interventions that Salini Impregilo has deployed in the field of education ranges from the small primary school to the master's degree designed to train the businessmen of tomorrow.
Primary and secondary education is a key theme for the development of the Country, an essential lever with which to ferry Ethiopia into the range of economies with an average income. Salini Impregilo strives pro-actively to achieve this goal, and for years it has been launching local initiatives aimed exclusively at involving young people and shaping their future. In the last few years alone, Salini Impregilo has created and donated approximately 20 school buildings to the communities. These are used for primary and secondary education, and the Group has also sustained their day-to-day running.
In a Country with such a high level of poverty and where many segments of the population live in regions located far from the capital Addis Ababa, access to healthcare is a key issue.
Salini Impregilo has responded to this requirement by equipping many of its sites with cutting edge healthcare facilities open not only to the site workers but also to the local communities. Important figures that show the significance of the interventions carried out today: in the 2-year period between 2014 and 2015, in Ethiopia the Group managed an extensive healthcare programme, providing over 315,000 healthcare services free of charge.
The commitment of Salini Impregilo to raising the awareness of local populations about the endemic illnesses that afflict the Country and most of the continent is wide-reaching and not restricted to the perimeter of the large open sites. For example, since 2011, in a bid to sustain the Ethiopian government's battle against the spread of Aids, the Group launched prevention and control programmes designed to eradicate the HIV virus, also in the capital Addis Ababa.
In 2012, the first school dedicated to the children of various nationalities who live in the field was opened in the construction site of Gibe III.
Nicholas Mini School, composed of one classroom, a laboratory and a recreational area, was recognised in 2013 by the Italian Minister of Education and its curricula are now approved both in Italy and in the other countries of the European Union.
The presence of schools in the sites, especially if these are located in remote areas, offers the workers who have moved away from home to be followed by their families and provides the Group with a lever that it can use to foster closer relationships with its employees.
In 2012, in the Gibe III construction site, a driving course for local drivers was launched, taught by the staff of Gruppo Salini Impregilo (HSE and Transport Division) and specialised independent companies. The course, which was also supported by the ETA (Ethiopian Transport Authority), envisages final evaluation tests, at the conclusion of 1,700 hours of classroom lessons and 640 hours of practical courses.
Safe driving courses have also been launched in the GERD construction site, where over 29,000 hours of training were provided in 2015. During the year, a net improvement in performances was recorded in terms of safety, such as, for example, a 61% reduction in the number of road accidents, compared with 2014.
Guaranteeing opportunities for development to the local communities has always been one of the Group's firm objectives.
Belachew Solomon has worked for the Salini Impregilo Group for 15 years and today he is the owner of one of the largest subcontractor companies operating in the Gibe III construction site. Thanks to the support of the management of Salini Impregilo, Belachew began his business career 12 years ago, initially employing a modest number of resources. Now his workforce is composed of 300 people, many of whom are women, and he has consolidated his business in the Country with local and international customers.
The partnership between the management of the Group in the construction sites in Ethiopia and the local unions has always led to positive results over the years, such as, for example, the agreement that guaranteed a six-monthly salary increase to the workers of Gibe, in line with the inflation rates in force. This best practice had already been introduced into the Country for the first time, when Gilgel Gibe II was built.
For Salini Impregilo, helping local communities also means providing healthcare services and structures in the construction sites in which the Group operates.
For example, in the case of GERD, Salini Impregilo set up a main hospital and four satellite clinics, equipped with state-of-the-art medical instruments from Italy, six ambulances and served by a staff of 71 qualified doctors, who work shifts to keep the facilities open 24/7.
The clinics in GERD offer medical services to foreign and local workers, and to all the people who live in the neighbouring villages.
The provision of medical care has also been an essential element for supporting the battle against the illnesses that historically strike these populations, such as Aids, tuberculosis and malaria.
Over the last few years, approximately 32,000 people have received free healthcare thanks to the structures present in the GERD site, which performed 5,400 operations in 2012, a figure that rose to exceed 11,100 in 2015.
To date, Gibe III and GERD are the largest projects carried out by Salini Impregilo in Ethiopia. Both located in remote areas of the Country, the two construction sites engaged a total workforce of over 15,000 people.
Top level healthcare facilities were provided for both projects, to protect the workers' health and prevent and treat illnesses. Approximately 120 medical staff members were employed, including doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians, chemists, ambulance drivers and assistants who – in the 2-year period between 2014 and 2015 alone – guaranteed over 315,000 medical interventions to the workforce.
The Group's commitment to protecting its workers is proof of the fact that Salini Impregilo has always focused on its people.