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Centre of Social Excellence (CSE) Africa opens a site in Guinea and begins its third course for Guinean social practitioners
Centre of Social Excellence (CSE) Africa opens a site in Guinea and begins its third course for Guinean social practitioners
News Nov 20, 2023

Centre of Social Excellence (CSE) Africa opens a site in Guinea and begins its third course for Guinean social practitioners

5 min read

For the third year, the Centre of Social Excellence (CSE) in Africa – with support from Alcoa Foundation – launched a 10-month training program on responsible mining in the bauxite mining region of Boké, Guinea.

The training of diverse stakeholders in Guinea has emerged as an effective strategy for fostering a culture of sustainability within the mining industry. Because local communities living near mining sites often experience social and economic impacts, the Centre of Social Excellence (CSE) in Africa focuses on building capacity for constructive engagement and meaningful participation in development decisions. By studying together and learning the same methods for advancing community engagement, human rights, and sustainable livelihoods, stakeholders from communities, companies, government and civil society organisations graduate from the course ready and willing to work together to find mutually beneficial solutions. This promotes transparency, trust, and cooperation between mining companies and local communities, with the expected result of improved social outcomes and reduced conflicts.

This year's course on proactive social management in the mining sector took place in August, and it follows two successful courses for Guinean social practitioners held in 2021-2022 and 2022-2023. All three courses were sponsored by Alcoa Foundation.

To date, around 80 Guinean youths are being empowered by the Centre of Social Excellence (CSE) in Africa, where some are currently supporting their communities, municipalities, and mining companies with micro-community projects, regenerative agriculture, economic reintegration, as well as public consultations for environmental and social impact assessments and more.

The 20 Guineans enrolled in the 2023 course represent various mining companies, local communities, civil society organisations and government institutions. Seven of the participants hail from communities directly affected by mining operations.

Unlike in previous years, when the classroom phase of the course took place in Yaoundé, Cameroon, the current training is taking place entirely in Boké, Guinea.

"Setting up the Centre in Guinea means being close to mining companies. Today, we are moving closer to the mining areas so that social practitioners can be in direct contact with their areas of operation so that they can identify the problems on the ground and deal with them on an ongoing basis", explains Désiré Ndoumou, CSE Africa Project Manager.

This new setting has also led to adjustments in the training curriculum, including more field visits to affected communities and mining sites. Participants also regularly participate in workshops taught by local mining sector stakeholders who come to the CSE site in Boké to share their experiences working with communities and address students' topics of interest related to responsible mining practices.

Marie Cécile Haba, a participant from the Higher Institute of Mining in Boké, reflected on the experience and stated that "this training is crucial for me as it will enable me to take a more balanced and sustainable approach to mining, which is beneficial for the company, the environment and local communities. It will also offer significant personal and professional benefits while contributing to more sustainable and socially responsible mining practices.

Upon completing the training, my intention is to actively promote understanding and knowledge regarding the responsibilities of the state, mining companies, and the rights of the community. In doing so, I aim to foster greater awareness and engagement to find constructive solutions for all parties involved. I will participate and accompany my community in all decision-making to promote peace and social cohesion between mining companies and communities while contributing to local development".

The 2023 Centre of Social Excellence (CSE) in Africa training course consists of a 4-month theoretical classroom phase that ends in December and a 6-month internship and professional project phase that will begin in early 2024.

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