Over time GVL is engaged with communities at various stages of dialogue about developing land for Oil Palm. These engagements have ensued from formal or informal invitations from the communities for GVL to develop in their traditional areas. GVL has also received numerous other invitations or expressions of interest which we are looking forward to follow.


Engaged Communities Update (12 Dec 2015)

Ebola Report

No GVL employees (approximately 3,800) nor their family members (more than 10,000) are known to have been infected with Ebola. No local infections were detected in any of GVL’s partner communities throughout the Ebola emergency period.

Since June 2014 and especially from July, GVL’s primary community engagement focus was on educating communities about the Ebola Viral Disease, providing reliable and true information, discussing prevention, infection handling and mitigation. GVL participated in County taskforces in Sinoe and Grand Kru, providing personnel and physical resources.

In response to the recurrence of Ebola in Liberia in November 2015, GVL has reinstated appropriate and proportionate precautionary measures. GVL will contribute to local and national programs in the same manner as previously, with the health and welfare of employees and communities with which GVL works as our top priority. 

Community Names and Details Note

GVL respects and applies locally preferred names which reflect the heritage and identity of communities. These are sometimes different from Government names and official maps.

Communities may have similar names but may identify these to be in different locations. Spelling and naming of individual communities and areas are also variable.

Initial engagements are often with broader communities, while subsequent work becomes more and more localized until final decisions are made at the level of each community’s own choosing. This is reflected in our updates. 

Sinoe County

Butaw

GVL had continued working with Abloteh and the Butaw Youth Association (BYA) in accordance with the agreements reached in Feb 2015 as part of the ongoing process to resolve the complaint submitted by the community to RSPO in September 2012.

On 26 May 2015 BYA organized a petition and protest about the lack of progress implementing the February 2015 agreement and the resulting lack of new employment opportunities. The protest turned violent, through an attack by estimated 35-40 persons on the 4-5 unarmed policemen, United Nations staff, government officials and GVL employees. The attack resulted in property damage, limited looting by the attackers, and seriously hurt two GVL employees who at current time are not yet recovered and can not return to work.

The attack effectively put a stop to progress. After suspending operations in Butaw, GVL then began to recall workers in July 2015 on community and Government request and the Butaw farm is now running normally. Workers in excess of the natural employment level unfortunately had to be laid off. The school and clinic are again running normally. GVL has requested the Liberian National Police to maintain a presence.

GVL and the Butaw community recommenced direct dialogue in July 2015. The Butaw community suspended Abloteh and the BYA, and appointed the Butaw Welfare and Development Association (BWDA), represented by senior members of the community, to enter dialogue with GVL. Over an intensive three month process, many key issues were discussed.

On 25 September 2015, Abloteh and BWDA on behalf of the community submitted a complaint withdrawal letter to RSPO personnel then visiting Liberia. In October 2015, they submitted a proposal offering further land to GVL. The Butaw and Murrysville communities have now agreed to discuss boundary issues which were the principal cause of delay in implementing the February 2015 resolution. GVL has reiterated both its commitment to the Butaw community and its willingness to develop mutually acceptable solutions to outstanding issues.

Tarjuowon

Gleater Sonnuhn Town Elementary School construction is complete and handed over through a joint ceremony, with additional provision of 60 pulpits, 20 chairs and 10 tables. An additional six month stipend for teachers at Unification school was approved from September to February, 2016. GVL is to provide teachers for the Sonnuhn Town school and others. An improvement project for Shaw David Town school has provided 45 desks, 8 tables and 16 chairs. GVL continues to operate the Unification City community clinic. Construction of Unification Community toilet under the CSR project is complete, Road rehabilitation work from ENI mission to Shaw David community is ongoing. The rehabilitation of 11 wells in 11 communities is about 80% complete. Nomination for Tarjuowon CDF members have been made by both the community and GVL.

Proposed reserved forest corridor management meetings were held with stakeholders of Tarjuowon District to discuss how the site can be co-managed by GVL and communities. Some Tarjuowon citizens were awarded slashing, production timbers and construction contracts.

Major civil construction work for the mill is about to begin. Over one hundred locals have been recruited to do skilled and unskilled works at the mill site.

A group of citizens previously organized under the Kulu United Development Association (Kuda) have established a Blogbo Section group and are engaged in discussion with GVL on their claim to specific “old towns” areas in Tarjuowon. 

Juarzon

 

In April 2015 GVL resumed engagement with the communities in the District. Rapid assessment of the vegetation types and land use to identify suitable areas for oil palm development was done. This rapid assessment was shared with and endorsed by the communities. The planning process for the FPIC consultation in the communities is substantially complete but subject to communities’ approval of the main workplan towards FPIC. The full consultation process is expected to begin at the turn of 2015/2016. The timing of ESIA and HCV assessment will be considered in early 2016. 

Sanqui-Geethroh region

GVL has received repeated land offers which are being reviewed. The vegetation cover has been assed and found to be mostly forested. 

Lousianna – Butaw District

GVL has received an invitation and has made initial contact with the Community. 

Kpanyan/Numopoh-East Sinoe

The Community and GVL are establishing the community Development Fund Committee and revision and calculation of the development map is in progress. Active land preparation is ongoing in Numopoh Phrase II(a) and is complete in Phrase II(c). The Numopoh provisional MOU/SA is being reviewed. The Environmental team has completed HCV demarcation in Numopoh Phrase II(b), which is now awaiting Land Preparation.

Finally Numopoh local stakeholders and Numopoh Citizens Welfare Committee are in negotiation with Communities and GVL to offer an additional portion of land in the Geepo Chiefdom. This would provide local employment, plus facilities such as a road, hand pumps and other infrastructure that will benefit the community.

GVL is fixing 100 school pulpits for the Numopoh Public School.

Du-Wolee/Nyannue-East Sinoe

Numopoh, Du-Wollee Nyannue and Worteh communities have in principle agreed to resolve overlapping land claims. Through the facilitation of the national government, represented by Hon. Varney Sirleaf, an 8 km road linking Nyannue clan to Worteh has been constructed & dedicated. It is now used by over 200 residents in surrounding communities and improves travel to Greenville. Worteh, Du-Wollee and Numopoh government has produced a map setting out community metes and bounds. The map has been signed by only DWN as the Numopoh and Worteh communities have yet to agree to the proposed metes and bounds.

Tartweh/Drapo & Nitrain-East Sinoe 

On June 19, 2015, Golden Veroleum Liberia opened Divisions 1 & 2 of Tartweh operation. GVL has employed over 100 local citizens at staff level and general workers. GVL has offered scholarship to 10 high school graduates in Tartweh to study at the UMU Agriculture College in Gbason Town, Juarzon District, Sinoe County. Ground HCV demarcation is ongoing in Tartweh Division 4 and the environmental team has completed HCV demarcation in Tartweh Division 3 prior to Land Preparation.

An agreement has been signed with Nitrain and a first payment made to the Nitrain Development Association. Further information sharing as part of FPIC process is ongoing with other communities. Land preparation and palm planting are in progress in Nitrain Division 2. Land preparation and palm planting is in Division 1 is complete. Ground HCV demarcation is ongoing in Nitrain Division 3. 

Dugbe River District

Dugbe River District has been divided into four MOU/SA zones due to the large size of the district. This will facilitate community input in the planning process and MOU development. Community Future Farm Land Identification, GPS tracking and bush walk is ongoing in Sarbo Chiefdom. Sarbo Chiefdom has presented MOU/SA inputs for GVL management consideration.

Jaedea Statutory District – Titiyen Community-East Sinoe

Participatory Mapping, Household Survey, Environmental and Social Impact Assessment, HCV assessment completed. EPA permit received. NPP 30-day public consultation completed with no comments. Draft MOU for consultation and input is ongoing. Community/Future Farm Lands (CFFL) walk-through is the next step. 

Nyennnasue – Jadeop-East Sinoe

GVL mapping exercise using satellite imagery is ongoing to assess whether the area is a go or a no go area.

Grand Kru County

Trembo (Sorroken/Wutuken) 

Pre-FPIC completed in new area offered by community. A company has been appointed to undertake ESIA and HCV assessment. Implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding and Social Agreement is ongoing in old MOU area.Community nomination for setting up of CDF completed pending community review of documents. Communities have opted for individual town-based CDFs although they have been asked to reconsider (as in all cases where town-based CDFs are proposed) whether this will produce the most effective use of funds for community improvement purposes.

Gbanken

Land preparation completed with implementation and review of the MOU/SA ongoing. Community opted for town-based CDFs, which are being processed.

Newaken

Land preparation progressing with implementation and review of the MOU/SA ongoing. Community opted for town based CDFs, which are being processed.

Dougbo 

Discussion paused on feasibility grounds. Current assessment shows the number of rubber farms in the area proposed by the community for oil palm development means that conversion is not economically viable.

Wedabo - Zoloken

Planting land preparation, with implementation and review of the MOU/SA ongoing. Documentation for setting up CDF completed.

Zoloken - Bleebo

Pre-FPIC completed. A company has been appointed to undertake ESIA and HCV assessment.

Garraway (Beach and Weteken, Piddy and Nyanbo, Nemiah, Po-River)

Land preparation progressing based on MOU reached through FPIC. Implementation and review of the MOU/SA, road construction and rehabilitation, supply of school materials ongoing. CDF nominations for all communities ongoing.

Wedabo (Gbanken, Ylatetwen, Beloken)

Land preparation completed in Ylatwen and Beloken with planting ongoing. Gbanken land preparation started and ongoing. Implementation of MOU/SA ongoing as well in the three communities.

Wedabo - Grandcess 

Pre-FPIC completed. A company has been appointed to undertake ESIA and HCV assessment.

Wedabo - Juduken

Boundary challenge between two communities resolved. Field demarcation completed. Ongoing discussion between Diaspora base group and Juduken community at home.

Gbatao (Picnicess) 

Community invited GVL to help measure potential land and to discuss. GVL has held exploratory meetings and these are continuing. Initial walk around land area with community leaders and representatives completed. Now pending decision whether ESIA and HCV leading to FPIC and NPP can be resourced and economically justified.

Gbleebo

Pre-FPIC completed. A company has been appointed to undertake ESIA and HCV assessment.

Barclaysville (Gbalapoh, Big Suehn, Filoken, Topoh, Fleneken)

Pre-FPIC completed. A company has been appointed to undertake ESIA and HCV assessment.

Sasstown

Invitation letter received by GVL to start FPIC process. Initial walk around land area with community nominated leaders and representatives completed. Now pending decision whether ESIA and HCV leading to FPIC and NPP can be resourced and economically justified.

River Gee County

Sarpo

Sarpo Community representatives have made initial contact with GVL about the possibility of beginning discussions on development. GVL is considering a response.

Tienpo, Jedepo, Kilepo and Chedepo areas

GVL has been approached to consider development. GVL is following up the initial invitation for more information.

Community Developmental Fund

The broad Community Development Fund (CDF) requirements are provided in the Concession Agreement and further agreed in more detail in each or the MOUs negotiated with communities. In 2013, we issued a draft proposal for the CDF Charter (available on the website). We have to date received no feedback on the Fund proposal from stakeholders other than communities themselves.

GVL follows the principle of establishing a Community Development Fund at the level of each MOU agreement. MOU agreements are determined by the communities themselves. This approach is distinct from establishing a district, county or national level Fund. Local input on using the funds at the local level on local priorities is important. While this means that each individual fund for each year of payment will be smaller, the demands on the community for necessary experience to plan and Fund use are lower.

Currently, the Butaw communities CDF has been established by communities appointing their representatives to the Butaw CDF Commission. The Charter / Bylaws have been adopted. GVL has made payment to the Butaw CDF up to end of 2014. The Numopoh & Tarjuowon CDF members have been appointed by the communities. Other communities are in the various familiarization and discussion process stages.

Community Farms, Smallholders and Independent Growers

GVL established a smallholder/community oil palm farming system design programme in late 2012. In parallel, the Government, through the National Bureau of Concessions (NBC), has convened an Oil Palm outgrowerstechnical working group, in which GVL participates. This has completed the community needs assessment phase of the programmeand is now moving into developing the financial model and exploring funding sources.

Continuing consultations have been carried out, led by GVL in Butaw (primarily) and by NBC’s project partner, GROW, in Numopoh, Sinoe, and Sorroken in Grand Kru. It is expected that pilot outgrower projects will begin in the second half of 2016. 

Important Information

The GVL FPIC Process

Engagements with communities take time, and often months or years prior to any formal process. GVL's process is detailed in the document "GVL FPIC – Free Prior Informed Consent" available on the GVL website. The process takes into account the need to find the right balance in land use, traditional community farming practices, community desires for direct economic and skills opportunities and community yes/no decision to offering land for oil palm development. It must make business sense for long term viability and employment in order to ensure sustainable development can occur in an area. 

Participation in Community Engagements

GVL welcomes meetings between interested parties and area community affairs teams, where plans can be discussed to the degree authorized by communities. Communities self-determine who can participate or be provided information about meetings where communities discuss their affairs.

Copies of communities’ materials, maps, proceedings and agreements are available to interested parties subject to communities providing clear written consent in line with good FPIC practice.

Community meetings are scheduled in accordance with local circumstances. Meeting times and agendas are subject to changing priorities in communities, depending on factors such as community views, invitations, accessibility and weather. Details can be obtained, where authorized, by liaising locally with our community teams.

GVL encourages Civil Society and Non Governmental Organization participation.

Diaspora and Migrated Community Members

Please read the GVL community guide “Important Things for People to Know”, available on the GVL website.

Diaspora and migrated community members can also always contact GVL at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if they wish to meet to discuss issues of interest to their community.

GVL is happy to keep diaspora and migrated community members informed of GVL activities. Specific community-related information can be updated based on local resident communities nomination and authorization to provide information. 

Does your family own deeded land in the communities that have invited GVL? GVL does not touch land without communities’ and private owners’ permission, in accordance with well defined processes. Please study our practices described in "GVL FPIC – Free Prior Informed Consent", available on the GVL website.

A key step is local participatory mapping with resident community members. Another step is a title search. If you hold a valid deed or certificate for land in a relevant area, if you provide a copy for us to map and verify the land, this can help avoid any encroachment. All deed documents must be verified by communities, courts and archives. As a policy, GVL does not lease land from private individuals.

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