CIPREL, Côte d’Ivoire’s largest independent power producer, improved communications with a host community and increased mutual understanding by using the CSC process.
During consultations associated with IFC’s $132.5 million financing package to support CIPREL’s expansion, company officials realized that they faced some relationship challenges with one of their host communities, the village of Vridi.
With IFC’s assistance, company representatives decided to implement a CSC. The process started with a training on the CSC methodology. It included participants from CIPREL, its parent company, and the community, along with local chiefs, municipal officials, and local training partners.
After learning the CSC fundamentals, participants engaged in the CSC process to assess CIPREL’s corporate social responsibility program for the village. Among the CIPREL participants: the company’s operations director, an advisor to the CEO, and 12 additional staff. Seventy community representatives also attended. At the next meeting—called the “interface meeting”—company and community representatives agreed on several actions, such as improvements to company-community engagement. They also identified the types of projects that CIPEL should support to advance the village’s socioeconomic development.
Company and community representatives alike gave positive reviews of the CSC process. They agreed that it resulted in significantly improved communication and understanding. For example, at the start of the community assessment meeting, CIPREL representatives shared information about the company and its position as a power producer. As part of the electricity value chain, they were not in the business of power distribution. This served to clear up a misperception among community members, who were concerned that they could not access the power CIPREL was producing. CIPREL representatives also explained that with highly automated operations, CIPREL didn’t need a large workforce, clearing up another misperception about the lack of local recruitment.
For the company, the CSC process underscored the importance of providing more information about CIPREL’s operations as well as its corporate social responsibility standards and performance. In addition, it helped facilitate internal communication and enhanced understanding of the company’s community initiatives.
The follow-up committee created as a final step in the CSC process serves as an important mechanism to support continuing company-community dialogue.