Geothermal Development Company (GDC) in collaboration with Power Africa East Africa Energy Programme (EAEP) on Tuesday, 18th July 2023, launched GDC’s nine-year Community Engagement Strategy at Kawi House.
The strategy development which was funded by Power Africa and USAID through the EAEP, is aimed at having a holistic improved engagement with host communities in GDC operational areas while concurrently facilitating the public participation in GDC’s resource development activities. It is in line with Power Africa’s objective of increasing on-grid electricity access, accelerating private sector investment, and improving the enabling environment of the power sector in East Africa.
The strategy envisages having meaningful engagement with the communities in GDC’s project areas that will lead to de-risking Company operations from community unrest, agitation, hostilities, and sabotage that may lead to delays in development.
Once in place, it will facilitate support from host communities with the aim of getting a social license. It will also help define and manage expectations from the locals in operational areas. The strategy additionally elaborates a framework for evaluation and the indicators that can be used to determine success.
Speaking during the launch, GDC Managing Director and CEO Mr. Paul Ngugi noted the criticality of community-buy in, to GDC meeting its targets and mandate. “Geothermal resource development is a capital-intensive undertaking. Obtaining a social license is crucial to ensuring funds invested in the development of the resource do not go to waste owing to community dissatisfaction,” said the MD and CEO. “We will implement the strategy so that its benefits can be truly felt by the community and GDC.”
In his remarks, the RTI International Chief of Party Mr. Dawie Pieterse, said that EAEP is keen on GDC’s projects. “Geothermal development fits in very well with EAEP’s goals owing to its green, renewable, and reliable characteristics,” explained Mr. Pieterse.
The meeting was also attended by Ag. General Manager Legal Services Ms. Agnes Muthengi, Manager Corporate Communication and Marketing and Ag. Manager Community Relations Ms. Wanjiru Kang’ara, Manager Human Resource Development Ms. Mariam Yunus, Chief Officer CR Mr. Daniel Kilelu and CR Senior Officers Mr. Pascal Manan and Mr. Paul Pakka. Mr. Pieterse was accompanied by EAEP Director Institutional Performance Improvement Unit Dr. Francis Kangure and Community Engagement Advisor Mr. Paul Maina.