Kenya - Dialogue serving a common interest
When Total Exploration & Production established a base in Kenya in 2012, it immediately made contact with stakeholders. Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM+), a tool to engage in dialogue and evaluate social issues, is used to identify and map stakeholders, and then design a consultation process. Mr. James Nganga, a senior geologist at the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum (Kenya), explains how he got involved in the program.
My role at the Ministry is to act as an interface with the oil companies. So, when Total got its permits to explore in offshore blocks, I was already familiar with this area. Its arrival came as no surprise and Kenyans are aware of what the know-how a large international business can offer them.
Listening and anticipating
Kenya is made up of counties, three of which were immediately affected by Total’s arrival. Keen to anticipate the impact of its presence they organized meetings with various stakeholders, namely residents, associations, partners and local authorities. The meetings also included religious leaders e.g. imams, as the local population is mainly Muslim. As a government representative, I supported Total in the process, facilitating dialogue by establishing a link with local communities.
The contacts made as part of this structured approach helped to identify the expectations of local communities and implement priority projects based on a common interest. Projects of various kinds, such as improving access to water and rehabilitating schools, and giving support to medical centers were identified and defined together, clearly specifying the roles and responsibilities of the different actors involved. Total was able to contribute to the implemention of certain projects in partnership with other notable groups such as the Kenya Red Cross Society.
And that is what I believe Kenyans expect from a large business like Total: listening and making a contribution to local development by passing on knowledge and know-how.