Engagement with the local community and administration is very important in our small hydropower projects. The goals of our community engagement activities are to ensure that: 1) our plans are consistent with and fit into their local communal development goals; 2) there is a common vision for how land and water will be used by our projects; 3) impacted landowners are engaged in the process and fully aware of their rights; 4) women in the community and households are engaged and consulted as much as the men; 5) the community is aware of timelines and with realistic expectations on how they will benefit from the projects; and 6) that there is a clear and safe mechanism for communication and resolution of problems.
Over the last months we have been meeting with community leaders in the vicinity of our projects, including the Provincial Governor, the Commune Administration, the local community leaders, and the community members themselves. We generally find the community to be enthusiastic, supportive and keen to know how they can be employed in the projects. We seek ways that the community can have long-term benefit from the projects, including discussions on how they can own a small part of the project and benefit from profits. As a result of our sincere and long-term engagement with the community, we find them advocating for our projects at all levels of government – even to the highest national authorities.