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Community engagement

A multifaceted approach to engaging communities has helped create and sustain healthy and productive relationships with the people who live near project operations in Chad and Cameroon.

Transparency, consistency and respect are key to keeping affected communities informed about current or planned project operations, as well as gathering input related to proposed activities or potential issues. In addition, a sustained program of targeted investments in communities is part of the project’s plan to ensure that towns and villages not only benefit from the compensation programs outlined by the EMP, but also from voluntary company-and-employee social responsibility activities that take place throughout project areas in both Chad and Cameroon.

A new approach to engaging communities in Chad

In 2014 the project adjusted its approach to community engagement within the OFDA, intensifying its focus on two-way communication and relationship building between senior EEPCI managers and community leaders. This approach, which involves creating social events attended by senior project leadership, has proven to be especially effective because it takes into account local traditions and customs and provides a mechanism for project and community leaders to communicate directly with each other. This has resulted in more productive outcomes on important safety, security and health-related issues that affect both the project and surrounding communities.

Photo — Daingar Ndingambaye, Chef de Canton de Béro, pictured above in blue, with project employees and members of the community.

With this new approach we feel included. EEPCI is now engaging all of the leadership of the communities from the Canton down to the village level. The fact that the leaders of EEPCI are here simplifies our communications and the response time to our concerns.

Daingar Ndingambaye, Chef de Canton de Béro

  • Mbaidoba Justin, Mayor of Komé Atan

    “We left the last meeting that we had with EEPCI with the perception that we have been listened to by the project leaders. It was really important that EEPCI leadership was present. This is a very important gesture for us which shows that the communities are
    a priority for the project.”

2014 consultation meetings

2014 Consultation Meetings

Social donation committee

  • Nomi Kalimbaye Modeste, Principal, Komé Base Village Christian Assembly of God Primary School

    “We are very thankful because we have never gotten donations like these before, and this helps resolve one of our big challenges. I want my kids to have a chance to go even further than I have and school is the way.”

 

For two days in November, hundreds of children at five schools in Danmadja, Madana-Napeur, Komé Base, Djeûne and Béro villages received school supplies provided by the project’s Social Donation Committee. This is the second year of Committee donations, which is made up of Chadian and expatriate staff residing at Komé 5.

The Committee also collects toys for Christmas and conducts a Back-to-School donation, with the project matching employee contributions. Members of the EMP department’s socioeconomic team help organize the activities to ensure the materials are delivered to the neediest areas.

Expanding vision-related medical services for low income families

An EEPCI donation funded a new eye examination and surgical room at the Centre de Santé Ordre de Malte d’ Amtoukoui clinic in N’Djamena, at which hundreds of examinations, procedures and minor surgeries were performed in the second half of 2014. The clinic, run by the Sovereign Order of Malta, whose members volunteer to serve the poor and the sick, treats approximately 20 patients each day for vision-related medical care. The structure, completed on May 26 at a cost of 19 million FCFA ($30,000), included solar panels and batteries to provide auxiliary power if needed.

  • Sister Helene Habib, Centre de Santé Ordre de Malte d’ Amtoukoui

    “We want to thank EEPCI because now we have a clean center where patients are happy to come for treatment.”

School refectory donation

The Collège Notre Dame de l’Assumption d’Atrone, a girls’ secondary school in N’Djamena, completed a new refectory in 2014 thanks to funds provided by the project. The school made the funding request after realizing the girls did not have enough time to complete their homework every day after doing their housework and chores. School officials recognized that the best way to help the girls complete their homework would be to allow them to stay beyond normal school hours, which would require providing an afternoon meal every day. With the refectory now completed the girls can stay at school longer, giving them more time to focus on academics.

Spotlight: The Women's Association of Esso Chad

The Associatión des Femmes d’ Esso Tchad (ASFET) is a volunteer organization formed by EEPCI’s female employees to support women and children. While the group was initially funded by contributions from Chadian and expatriate employees, EEPCI has for several years provided matching donations.

Some of the group’s 2014 Highlights:

  • Continuing their long-term commitment of financial support for the top performing girls from each of the top ten high schools in N’Djamena
  • Delivering two weeks of food to displaced child refugees from the Central African Republic
  • Drilling water wells in N’Djamena’s poor rural communities
  • Supporting a local orphanage with food donations

ASFET, which includes most of the women who work in EEPCI’s N’Djamena headquarters, recently appointed Ramatou Mahamat to a two-year term as president. Ramatou was also invited to serve as vice treasurer of the First Lady’s National Council of Chad Women Leaders, a group of high-profile women from around the country that conducts national forums to address women’s issues in Chad.

Through our work with ASFET, we hope that we can increase the number of women in Chad’s leadership. The history of women in Chad is the same as in so many other countries. Although we still must deal with some of the traditional stigmas, women are increasingly achieving higher positions. The future here is bright.

Ramatou Mahamat, President, ASFET

Supporting water well maintenance activities

Several project vehicles were donated to support the French NGO, IDO, which helps communities in southern Chad improve their water well systems. The organization’s mission is to make potable water available to rural and remote communities in Africa, reducing exposure to harmful waterborne bacteria and disease such as cholera, typhoid fever, hepatitis A and dysentery.

Essential to this work is educating communities about the importance of clean water. While solutions can be as simple as keeping the surrounding area clean and covering the well, the organization also trains communities to raise funds for the purchase of tools and the maintenance of their wells, which can fail after years of daily use, often from simple mechanical issues that are easily repaired with minimal training.

IDO’s volunteer staff, who work for drilling services support company Schlumberger, use the project-provided vehicles to travel extensively in and around the OFDA. They have identified over 1,200 water wells, diagnosed 500 issues and helped communities repair over 300 wells in the area. The project has also begun sharing with IDO the locations of new and planned wells to support their inventory and mapping efforts.

  • Mahamat Ahmed Kadjangaba, Volunteer, IDO

    “When I am at work, I have access to plenty of clean water. This is my way of giving back to the community, to help them have clean water as well. The first big challenge is to help villagers understand that all water is not the same or they will just drink from the river when their wells break down. In fact, many of these children have siblings that have died from unknown causes, and the community does not understand that often it is the water that has caused these deaths.”

Spotlight: COTCO receives award for corporate citizenship

COTCO was chosen by Cameroonian NGO Groupe Africain de l’ Excellence as winners of two Palmes d’Or de l’ Excellence Africaine 2013 awards for being a responsible corporate citizen and for the strength of the company’s management practices. The awards were presented at a gala in April 2014 in Yaoundé

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