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.

January 2021 Archives


The value of a quick look

Responsible Business Management |  28 January 2021

It used to be that satellite imagery or aerial photography was expensive and difficult to access. Now it is easy to see what is happening on the ground around projects. At its simplest you can start by logging into Google Earth, zooming in on a known set of coordinates or a local town name and having a play. If you have a team on the ground, asking them to take some drone imagery is cheap and easy to obtain and provides another level of detail...


Local to Global - The Zimbabwe Friendship Bench

Community Health |  14 January 2021

I recently came across this story from Zimbabwe while clocking up some miles in the gym – an ABC "All in the mind" podcast about grandmothers, mental health and the friendship bench.  Having benefitted from access to counselling when going through my own difficult times a few years back it struck a cord. Inspiring and a reminder of the ingenuity and strength of local solutions. From very small beginnings the friendship bench has been exported to Kenya, Botswana, Malawi, Zanzibar and, perhaps surprisingly, New York City...