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.

Ebola

Since June and especially from July, GVL's primary community engagement focus has however been on educating communities about the Ebola Viral Disease, providing reliable and true information, discussing prevention, infection handling and mitigation. Hiring and working procedures have been altered and practiced over the months. GVL participates in County task forces in Sinoe and Grand Kru, providing personnel and physical resources.

Community meetings in the circumstance are a challenge to conduct correctly: meetings are required to reliably and repeatedly inform communities about Ebola; on the other hand large meetings are avoided.

In Sinoe and Grand Kru, no GVL employees or their families have been infected with Ebola. Also, GVL's direct partner communities have so far avoided infections. In two cases, infected persons arrived from elsewhere to our partner communities, in Dougbo (Grand Kru, on the main road) and Togbaville (Sinoe, near Jacksonville). In both cases, GVL employees from close by were provided paid leave of absence to monitor the situation and as precaution to further spread in the workplace. In both cases, the isolation alerts, guidance and monitoring by GVL employees and staff, by the Country health team and other officials, succeeded in preventing further known infections.

Community Names and Details

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

Communities may have similar names but may be different actual 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 level of communities own choosing, and this is reflected in our updates.

Current Communities' Engagement

The communities we are engaging or about to engage with now include the following:

Community working with GVL General - Status Oct 20, 2014

Sinoe County 

Butaw

RSPO visited the community in June 2014 and a report is 2014-10-20 being finalized by the RSPO team. GVL has taken a number of actions on old towns grave-sites further furbishment and on watercourses improvement. GVL originally preserved sacred trees within the Butaw nursery and is currently engaging with communities on re-demarcating and restoring a sacred site at the spot. The Community Development Fund committee has been constituted by communities in accordance of the Concession Agreement. GVL and communities have finalized reviewing the Fund Charter and a formal establishment of the legal Fund entity is being prepared. Nine communities in the area have signed a Memorandum of Activities (MOA) with GVL on conducting further Free Prior Informed Consent process. GVL is currently working with the Butaw communities for the survey of the Butaw land to enable the citizens decide on allocation of further land to company and community oil palm program development. 

Tarjuowon 

Progressing with road development on community request and land development based on Memorandum of Understanding with the local communities. Development of future Kulu factory site has commenced with earthworks completed on schedule. Further work is now pending improvement in the Ebola situation and end of the rainy season. Setting-up of community Development Fund Committee has commenced, construction of elementary school under the signed MOU has commenced.

Kpanyan/Numopoh 

Numopoh Community has signed Memorandum of Understanding and Social Agreement with GVL and land development in agreed areas are in progress. Chimpanzee habitat study was previously completed and guides development areas, in addition to GVL's FCP and understanding of overlapping land claims between Numopoh and Do-WoleeNyannue communities.

Do-Wolee/Nyannue 

Numopoh and Do-Wolee/Nyannue communities are in principle understanding of interim treatment of overlapping land claims and have demarcated the bounds of the area of potential overlap of claims. Communities have invited GVL into an MOU upon confirmation of the understanding. The Do-Wolee/Nyannue communities have forwarded to GVL a negotiation proposal for MOU terms, and this is being considered. 

Tartweh/Drapoh and Nitrian 

Environmental and Social Impact Assessment, HCV Assessment, Participatory Mapping, and discussions about land development are ongoing in an FPIC process, at different stages per community. Under the Ebola conditions, large meetings are not being held.

In case of Nitrian and Tartweh communities, community provisional MOU's have been signed with several communities and villages, while other communities have engaged in further demarcation of their lands for future community farmland (CFFL) use, and are discussing the details with GVL, including discussion of leases of deeded areas.

Dugbeh River Region

GVL and Dugbeh River Communities have concluded Environmental and Social Impact Assessment, HCV Assessment, Participatory Mapping and household survey. Local communities at grass-root level are considering MOU and Social Agreement draftings. CFFLs are expected to be discussed next in detail on the ground.

Juarzohn 

Community invited GVL to help measure potential land and to discuss. Community has repeated invitation and GVL is planning to discuss further. GVL is currently conducting further High Carbon Storage studies. 

Sanqui-Geethroh Region

GVL has received repeated land offers which are being reviewed. GVL is planning to conduct High Carbon Storage studies. 

Jaedea Statutory District – Titiyen Community 

GVL has been working with the community following their invitation. Environmental and Social Impact Assessment, HCV Assessment, Participatory Mapping and household surveys have been concluded and drafting or MOU/SA at grass-root level is expected to begin in coming weeks. 

Nyennnasue – Jadeop 

GVL has received an invitation and is in initial touch with the community.

Lousianna – Butaw District 

GVL has received an invitation and is in initial touch with the community.

Grand Kru County

Trenbo (Sorroken/Wutuken) 

Land preparation progressing. Implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding and Social Agreement is ongoing, which will include also setting up of the localized Community Development Fund, schools maintenance, clean water pumps construction, and review of the provisional MOU towards a permanent MOU.

Newaken 

Land preparation progressing with implementation and review of the MOU/SA ongoing.

Gbanken 

Land preparation progressing with implementation and review of the MOU/SA ongoing.

Dougbo 

Assessing feasibility of development in relation High Carbon Stock prevalency and existing tree crops farming.

Wedabo Zoloken

Nursery land development progressing and planting land preparation, with implementation and review of the MOU/SA ongoing.

Zoloken-Bleebo 

The Bleebo community has an ongoing historical land dispute with Zoloken. A "stopping-point" resolution (setting the point beyond which either community may not trespass) between the communities has been signed by both parties. As GVL was not developing the affected areas, this has no direct bearing on the company, however its a positive movement in allowing communities to know this.

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 ongoing including also roads construction and rehabilitation, supply of school materials. 

Wedabo (Gbanken, Ylatetwen, Beloken) 

FPIC process completed and MOU signed, pending land preparation. 

Wedabo-Grandcess

Invitation letter to discuss and conduct FPIC received by GVL from the community. GVL staff are studying suitability of the land with the community.

Wedabo-Juduken 

FPIC process and participatory mapping is at point of boundary confirmation with neighbouring communities. 

Gbatao (Picnicess)

Community invited GVL to help measure potential land and to discuss. GVL has held initial exploratory meetings and these will continue. Initial walk around land area with community leaders and representatives completed. Gbleebo Initially community did not want GVL development so we excluded from NPP. Community members have recently approached GVL to request development in their areas. GVL is considering. 

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

Invitation letter received by GVL to start FPIC process. GVL has held initial exploratory meetings and these will continue. Initial GPS walk around land area with community nominated leaders and representatives completed.

Sasstown

Invitation letter received by GVL to start FPIC process. Initial walk around land area with community nominated leaders and representatives completed. 

Maryland, River Cess, River Gee 

Overall GVL has received community approaches and is conducting overall analysis of broad land suitability, including forest cover and carbon stock.

Community Development Fund

The broad Community Development Fund (CDF) requirements are provided in the Concession Agreement and further agreed in more detail in each or the MOU's negotiated with communities. In 2013, we issued a draft proposal for the CDF Charter (available on the website). We have not received feedback on the Fund proposal from other stakeholders than the communities themselves so far.

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. Localization and utilizing the funds at the local level on local priorities is important, while this of course also means that each individual fund for each year of payment will be smaller, and the initial experience available to plan and consider utilization of the Fund is less.

Currently, the Butaw communities have established their local representatives to the Butaw CDF Commission and has reviewed the Charter / Bylaws. Other communities as mentioned in the above, are in the familiarization and discussion process. 

Community Farms, Smallholders and Independent Growers

GVL has established a smallholder/community oil palm farming system design program in late 2012. In parallel, the Government has convened an Oil Palm smallholders working team, where GVL participates. Additionally, GVL is working with the SHARP program operated by Proforest aimed at broad based design of an oil palm outgrower program for Africa.

Continuing consultations have been carried out with particularly the Butaw (primarily) and Tarjuowon (initially) communities on a potential program, with the assistance of expertise drawn from Asian and African programs. The detail development on the ground has been significantly slowed by the Ebola situation. A localized study and concept paper setting forth issues and ideas for a localized model is expected to be available during 2015.

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 discussions take into account need to find the right balance in land use, traditional community farming practices, community desires for direct economic and skills opportunities, community yes vs. no to development and it must make business sense for long term viability and employment, in order to ensure if sustainable development can occur in an area.

Participation in Community Engagements

GVL welcomes interested parties meet with our nearby 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 be obtained subject to definitive written prior informed consent of each particular community.

Actual community meetings are scheduled based on different localized circumstances, actual events often changing priorities and times depending on communities wishes, invitations, accessibility and weather, for instance. Details can be obtained, where authorized, by liaising locally with our community teams.

Diaspora and migrated community members

Please read the GVL communities 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. to receive courteous attention.

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 owner's permission, which is ensured through multiple steps of process.

Please study our practices described in "GVL FPIC – Free Prior Informed Consent

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

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