Effective and proactive engagement with local stakeholders is critical for project success. If the Project fails to communicate adequately with local communities and address their grievances in a timely manner, conflicts may follow and this could lead to the disruption of project activities.
One example of good practice on the management of stakeholder engagement was shown during the construction phase of the Bufulubi PV plant project in Uganda through the implementation of an effective grievance mechanism. Tryba Energy, the French project company active in the development, investment and operation of PV plants, and Metka Eng., the EPC contractor, appointed local Community Liaison Officers (CLOs) and introduced them to the community to closely engage with affected local community members. Moreover, following the project’s Stakeholder Engagement Plan, the CLOs set up a grievance committee with the Level 1 Local Chairpersons (LC1s), which include both men and women, of the villages affected by the project and the power line.
Grievances could be submitted either verbally or in writing to any committee member. Anonymous grievances were also accepted through grievance boxes. Once submitted, grievances were investigated free of charge and the grievant was kept informed of the progress of the investigation. The committee also held weekly meetings to promptly address any grievances received, and documented clearly how grievances were resolved.
Tryba Energy appointed Alvus and BIMCO to audit the E&S performance of the project. The audit identified that most grievances focused on crop damage during the construction of the power line. Yet, they were satisfactorily resolved, and local authorities and community members were very satisfied with the effectiveness of the grievance mechanism. The audit also identified room for further improvement and recommended to undertake focus group meetings, in particular with vulnerable groups, to proactively capture their concerns rather than just responding to grievances.