Uganda - Bridging two worlds
Jimmy Kisarach's path. Community liaison officer for Total in Uganda, his mission is to be an effective laison with local communities to ensure that Total activities are well understood.
It's been 10 months since I started working for Total in Uganda as a member of its team of eight Community Liaison Officers. Our main mission is to bond with local communities. This is very important because if these ties do not exist, relations can rapidly deteriorate.
I make sure that we coexist under the best circumstances, that Total activities do not have negative impacts, especially on harvesting, and that social conditions improve. Since the land belongs to communities, you have to give back in return. That's what we do through projects that contribute to local development or by supporting government programs. Sometimes it's necessary to demonstrate that Total exploration activity is not a threat or source of inconvenience, and that payment of compensation is not systematic but must be related to negative impacts, if there are any.
Local communities have big expectations, especially regarding employment, and many feel that they have not always been fairly treated in the past. We are therefore not always viewed favorably, and it is necessary to build relationships of trust. Without doubt, this is why I was chosen by Total after answering an ad in the local newspaper. Not only am I Ugandan and know the communities well, but I also have the experience necessary for the job. I was a teacher in a private school for two years, and, above all, I had already worked as Community Liaison Officer for a nongovernmental organization. An asset in developing harmonious relations with neighboring communities.