Energy company Genser Energy has said it has taken significant strides towards enhancing its corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives by implementing a comprehensive plan aimed at providing sustainable and tailored solutions to communities within its operational areas.
The company noted that its commitment to fostering strong relationships with local authorities and community members has set a new benchmark for effective community engagement.
Recognising the importance of establishing solid partnerships with key stakeholders, Genser Energy said it prioritises engagement with local authorities, including unit committees, assembly members, traditional authorities (Odikros), religious leaders, youth groups, and opinion leaders.
This initial groundwork lays the foundation for Genser's Sustainability Department to conduct in-depth research by immersing themselves in the local communities and gaining a firsthand understanding of their needs before developing suitable solutions.
Michael Smith, Genser Energy Communication Relations Superintendent, highlighted the company's approach, stating, "The community relations team immerses themselves in these communities to gather relevant information about local government authorities, traditional leadership, community lifestyle, culture, and customs.
This enables us to establish preliminary contacts with key stakeholders and ensure effective community entry and sensitisation."
Once Genser Energy enters a community, it conducts a comprehensive socioeconomic survey, gathering essential data on household composition, education background, housing conditions, water & sanitation availability, healthcare access, and other critical aspects.
This information forms the basis of an up-to-date database that assists in designing comprehensive CSR programmes tailored to each community's unique needs.
Issah Mohammed, Genser Energy Sustainability Manager emphasised Genser Energy's commitment to incorporating the perspectives of the community members, including traditional authorities, youth groups, vulnerable groups such as women, children, the physically challenged, and the elderly, in the development of their CSR programmes.
By engaging the community in this manner, Genser Energy ensures the full support and participation of all stakeholders throughout the project implementation process.
Addressing prevalent community issues, Mohammed added, "Many of these communities face challenges related to water and health facility renovations, among others. We have short, medium, and long-term needs assessment CSR plans in place."
In line with their community-centric approach, Genser Energy has actively engaged with more than 150 communities in preparation for the construction of gas pipelines.
These pipelines will connect the Ejisu Plant Metering Station in the Ashanti Region, serving the 250-Megawatt (MW) Africa and Middle East Resource Investment (AMERI) Thermal Power Plant.
Notably, Genser Energy's involvement in these communities extends beyond job creation, with a comprehensive plan that addresses the unique needs of each community.
To ensure ongoing dialogue and involvement, Genser Energy has established a continuous engagement management framework, employing strategic measures to work collaboratively with project-affected persons (PAPs) throughout the project's lifecycle.
This framework includes the appointment of Community Liaison Representatives (CLRs) by PAPs in each community.
These representatives provide vital information regarding the pipeline's right-of-way, community concerns, and community management, facilitating informed planning and decision-making.
To further strengthen stakeholder engagement at the community level, Genser Energy has formed grievance management committees and employment committees at various pipeline sections.
These committees address pressing concerns that may not be immediately apparent to the company and help streamline the employment and recruitment process within the communities.
Over the years, Genser Energy has actively contributed to the development of the communities along its gas pipeline routes.
The company has undertaken initiatives such as providing school desks and constructing mechanised boreholes in the Amansie South and Sefwi districts of the Ashanti and Western North Regions, respectively.
These efforts demonstrate Genser Energy's commitment to sustainable development and improving the lives of community members.
In collaboration with the American Chamber of Commerce Ghana (AmCham) and the Ghana Union Assurance (GUA), Genser Energy has also committed over GHS1.8 million to construct a covered market in Appiatse.
The market project aims to support the community, which was severely impacted by a tragic explosion earlier this year.
The all-inclusive market will be equipped with improved amenities such as water, electricity, and a creche, contributing to the rebuilding and restoration of the vibrant community.
In addition to its community-centric initiatives, Genser Energy has also made noteworthy contributions to the sports sector.
Last year, the company donated a SEWA 504 tractor with a mower worth GHS200,000 to the Takoradi Sports Club, enabling the continued upkeep of the facility and encouraging future community activities.
Genser Energy also co-sponsored the 2022 Gold Fields Professional Golfers Association (PGA) tournament, demonstrating its support for professional golfers and promoting sporting events within the region.
Genser Energy's commitment to corporate social responsibility and community engagement stands as a testament to its dedication to sustainable development and the well-being of the communities it serves.
Through its inclusive approach and tailored CSR programmes, the company continues to make a positive impact on Ghanaian communities, fostering lasting relationships and driving socio-economic progress.