Earlier this month, a group of Guinean professionals flew into Yaoundé, Cameroon to begin a 10-month training course on participatory development aimed at protecting and enhancing human rights in Guinea’s Boké bauxite mining region.
The 21 participants – mostly from Boké region – were nominated by local councils, non-governmental organisations, mining companies and government agencies. The course is funded by the Alcoa Foundation and implemented by Earthworm Foundation’s Centre of Social Excellence (CSE).
On 15 February, the Guinean professionals began the first part of the course – an intensive three-month series of classroom and field sessions taught by international experts in social management. In mid-May, the participants will embark on a 10-day field trip exploring the practices and needs of communities and companies in the Boké region.
From there, they will carry out five-month field projects; where they will put their new skills into action to benefit the people of Boké. The course will culminate in presentations of project reports at a workshop bringing together company, government and civil society representatives in Conakry in November 2021.
Prior to their departure from Guinea’s Conakry International Airport, participants gathered for a ceremony celebrating the launch of this ambitious course and recognised its potential to contribute to relations between stakeholders in the Boké region. One business leader from the bauxite sector explained in an interview with Radio Télévision Guinéenne (RTG) that this select group of professionals, “will go to Cameroon where they will be trained, and our wish, upon their return, is to be able to multiply this knowledge, and help identify the problems of social management and participatory and sustainable development.”
The Centre of Social Excellence was established by Earthworm Foundation in 2008 and has since trained dozens of professionals in Central and West Africa. Trainees are taught to cultivate constructive stakeholder relationships where natural resource or agricultural development takes place. CSE graduates contribute to stakeholder mediation in a variety of sectors in over ten African countries. This model is now set to help strengthen social practice in Guinea’s bauxite sector.
“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 of 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 (CSE)
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.
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 at: https://www.alcoa.com/foundation/en/default.asp
Images: Alcoa Foundation