Earthworm Foundation’s Centre of Social Excellence (CSE) is pleased to announce the launch of a 10-month course focused on building the capacity of stakeholders living and working in the bauxite mining region of the West African country of Guinea. The course will teach the methods and build the skills of companies, local communities, government agencies and civil society organisations to help develop the bauxite sector in a way that protects and enhances human rights. This is the first time this kind of course has been offered in Guinea, and it is possible thanks to funding from the Alcoa Foundation.
Bauxite is the principal commercial ore used in the production of aluminium, a metal used worldwide in a vast variety of ubiquitous consumer and industrial products. Possessing the world’s largest reserves of bauxite, Guinea has an important place in the current and future supply chain. Likewise, bauxite’s role in the development of the country is hard to overstate. To ensure that the bauxite production benefits the broadest range of stakeholders in the region, it is necessary to build the capacity of all actors to participate in the design of benefit sharing and development plans through peaceful and transparent processes.
In 2011, Guinea turned resolutely towards the promotion of sustainable development from the exploitation of resources, illustrated by a complete reform of the mining sector embodied in the new Mining Code of 2011 and additional amendments in 2013. This strategic option taken by the Government, namely the integration of economic growth and sustainable development into mining, opens the prospect of equitable and balanced development. In addition, the support of the country for the formulation of a national policy for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the mining sector was identified as one of the priority activities for the entire United Nations System in Guinea in 2015.
With funding from Alcoa Foundation, the CSE is launching an ambitious programme to build the capacity of communities, civil society organisations, mining companies and government stakeholders in the Boké region to ensure that development takes place in a transparent, participatory and fair manner. Twenty participants will be selected from the Boké region to take part in the course. Participants will be based at the CSE training centre in Yaoundé, Cameroon, where they will undertake four months of classroom sessions and practical field exercises led by international experts in participatory development. The four-month classroom training will be followed by a six-month professional project in the Boké region related to participatory sustainable development and human rights. The professional project will be hosted by a company or institution associated with the bauxite sector and will take place under the coaching of CSE trainers.
Established by Earthworm Foundation in 2008, CSE has trained dozens of early and mid-career professionals in Central and West Africa to cultivate constructive stakeholder relationships where natural resource or agricultural development take place. CSE’s graduates contribute to stakeholder mediation and collaboration in a variety of sectors in over ten African countries. This successful model for transforming social practice is now set to help transform social practice in Guinea’s bauxite sector.
“This is not just about teaching standards,” explains Robin Barr, Global Lead for the Centre of Social Excellence, “It’s about equipping participants with the practical skills needed to actually implement the standards. Guinea is at a critical stage where there is a real opportunity, and willingness from all parties to work together on getting this right.”
“Alcoa Foundation is proud to support an educational initiative that will bring together a wide range of stakeholders to build skills and share best practices for sustainable development and the protection of human rights,” said Rosa Garcia Pineiro, President Alcoa Foundation, “This program will address the unique needs of the Boké region, working to create sustainable value for the community.”
About the Centre of Social Excellence
The Centre of Social Excellence (CSE) is a strategic programme of Earthworm Foundation. CSE’s mission is to create an enabling environment for social harmony and realised human rights by equipping companies, civil society, and governments with well-trained social practitioners from the regions where they operate. We mobilise diverse social experts who have real-world experience addressing social issues to design and teach courses to students on the front lines of company-community interactions in Africa, Asia and Latin America. CSE’s Africa training centre is based in Yaoundé, Cameroon. Learn more about CSE here.
About Alcoa Foundation
Alcoa Foundation invests where Alcoa has a presence, partnering with communities to address local needs in a sustainable manner. With our non-profit partners, we contribute to environmental excellence, economic success and social responsibility around the globe. Learn more about Alcoa Foundation here.
Image: Alcoa Foundation