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 was hoping this blog would achieve something similar – the regular, free and open sharing of ideas and experiences. It hasn't worked so I'm taking a break and having a bit of a rethink. In the meantime I'll be reposting a "best of" selection from time to time.

February 2022 Archives

More actions for a stronger social licence

Responsible Business Management |  1 February 2022

I've written before about ten must-do-actions for a stronger social licence. These come from personal experience working in company-community relations on mine sites in Africa. This new / different / alternative take on doing what matters comes from local communities, reflecting directly on their concerns for the well-being and development opportunities for individuals and the collective community...

Linking company actions to the SDGs

Responsible Business Management |  1 February 2022

Making a contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals.

For the last few years I have been making the case that junior and mid-tier explorers and operators can contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (the SDGs) and just as importantly to be recognised for what they do, to the extent that shorter life-cycles, smaller physical, environmental, social and economic footprints, leaner management structure and lesser lobbying strength allow. So I’ve been digging away, looking for ideas to borrow and tweak. The ICMM references the SDGs in their Good Practice Principles. Another good source has been a think-tank report mapping mining to the development goals . Both have been useful but they definitely reflect the capabilities and strategies of the big-end of town. More recently IPECA has published a guide for the oil and gas industry and the US FAO has incorporated SDG considerations into their Sustainable Forest Management Toolbox.

Community Health - building from the inside

Responsible Business Management |  1 February 2022

Community health is an 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...

Permaculture powered community development

Responsible Business Management |  1 February 2022

I don’t know about you, but when permaculture was suggested to me a technique for community development I had some doubts but having seen Edge5 Permaculture in action I am  now a convert. The Edge5 way uses an integrated approach to design, combining the ecological processes of land, plants, animals and climate into highly productive systems resulting in stronger and healthier communities. The approach is practical and hands-on, encourages peer-to-peer learning, starts at the backdoor with intensive kitchen gardens before building to larger scale strategies for water-harvesting, sustainable farming (crops, trees and animals) and agro-forestry...

Tapping into local knowledge

Responsible Business Management |  1 February 2022

This short piece highlights a few simple actions you can take that will reduce your community-related project risk.

My suggestion is that whether you are taking on an existing project or you’ve acquired it through a purchase or takeover, the simple act of talking to the in-country site team can save you a lot of grief. If they are on-the-ball they will be a good source of information to help you get up to speed…

Feeling the pulse- your relationship health check

Responsible Business Management |  1 February 2022

We know that the level of social risk associated with a project is linked to the quality of relationships with local people but how can you know where you stand? There are two simple ways to do this. The first is to pay attention for changes in the tone of meetings with government agencies, partners and community members. The second is to note changes in behaviour and attitude you see happening in the community...