I first heard the words “meeting under the mango tree” as a euphemism for having a predictable, easy to access process for enabling community members to raise issues and concerns in a safe and familiar place.  There is no fixed agenda and no one-size-fits-all for these exchanges. With one company we set up drop-in centres in each local village with a designated community officer in attendance everyday. Another made it known that a company person would be available “under the mango tree” for two hours every market day. I am hoping this blog will achieve something similar – the regular, free and open sharing of ideas and experiences. Time will tell how well it works out.

May 2020 Archives


Community Health - building from the inside

Community Health |  28 May 2020

Community health is another area that is very broad and where it pays to stay focused on a (relatively) small number of areas. Malaria, HIV and communicable diseases such as tuberculosis and hepatitis have long been priorities for company and community alike. Ebola and COVID-19 are more recent concerns. The first three are essential in so far as ensuring a healthy workforce is concerned and are standard practices for responsible companies operating in Africa. And they are not that difficult to address...


STE(A)M powered education

Community Development |  14 May 2020

Quality Education (SDG4) is a laudable goal but I have struggled for years to find a strong case for company funding of community requests for assistance with education-related activities and projects. I have never bought into the oft-stated rationale for spending time and money on the early education of future generations of potential employees. It just doesn’t stack up for most projects with their relatively short development and operating cycles. The exception might be where the majors (Rio and BHP come to mind) with their 30 to 50-year operating windows have a much stronger argument for inter-generational impact.