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 (29 Apr 2015)
No local infections have been detected in any of GVL's partner communities throughout the Ebola emergency period. No GVL employees (approximately 3,600) nor their family members (more than 10,000) are known to have been infected with Ebola.
In two cases, apparently 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 the isolation alerts, guidance and monitoring by GVL employees and staff, by the County health team and other officials, succeeded in preventing further known infections.
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.
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.
GVL has taken a number of actions on old towns, gravesites and watercourses improvement as recommended by RSPO, as well as constructing additional hand pumps. Stage 1 restoration of a disrupted sacred site has been carried out by planting pegs for fencing the area, so allowing natural regrowth around the standing tall trees. Site restoration was delayed by ownership dispute within community. GVL has met several times with A-Bloteh & Butaw Youth Association (BYA) and agreed on a schedule of activities relating to development in. The community and GVL have established the Community Development Fund committee and GVL has deposited funds up to Dec 31, 2014 in the Fund bank account pending the submission of a list of infrastructure projects for implementation. GVL has facilitated a site-seeing tour of Abloteh to Tarjuowon to assess the extent of progress being made and find ways to facilitate the stalled land negotiation process in Butaw.
The road construction project connecting Sonnuhn to Jacksonville City has been completed. A faction of the KUDA had previously complained to RSPO about the road, however GVL proceeded on all communities request to complete the road. GVL provided six months’ drugs supplies to the Unification City clinic during in April, 2015. Construction of the Unification Community toilet facility under the CSR programme is about 90% complete. Road rehabilitation work from ENI Mission to Shaw David community is ongoing and clearing of a site for a proposed quick impact school project is complete. Sonnuhn Town Elementary School construction is at 60% (presently at roof level). Rehabilitation of 11 community wells is about 80% complete. Meetings in connection to GVL proposed sustainable use corridor management were held with stakeholders of Tarjuowon District to discuss how the area can be co-managed. Butaw Abloteh visited Tarjuowon for sight seeing and exchange of experience on engagement with GVL. The Tarjuowon mill construction area has been prepared for anticipated contract award in coming months. Construction will take approximately 24 months.
Community has reiterated its invitation to GVL to help measure potential land and to discuss. Starting April 2015 Rapid Assessment of the vegetation types and land-use to identify suitable areas for oil palm development is under way. The output from this exercise will be a map highlighting GVL areas of interest for consideration for endorsement by the citizens of the district. The area of interest will then be the focus areas for ESIA and HCV as key elements in the FPIC process, should the communities and the company determine to proceed further.
ENI Mission Area
ENI mission has sugegsted to GVL discussions on oil palm development on the mission’s lands. GVL has agreed to assist the Mission by creating a coordinates map based on boundary markers made by the Mission and surrounding communities team. The map would then proceed to Mission and communities validation prior to next discussions.
GVL has received repeated land offers which are being reviewed.
Lousianna – Butaw District
GVL has received an invitation and has made initial contact with the Community.
Kpanyan/ Numopoh-East Sinoe
Active land preparation is ongoing in Numopoh Phase II(a) and is complete in Phase II(c). The Environmental team has completed HCV demarcation in Numopoh Phrase II(b), which is now awaiting Land Preparation. Numopoh local stakeholders and Numopoh Citizens Welfare Committee are in negotiation with Communities and GVL to alloocate an additional portion of land in the Geepo Chiefdom for oil palm. The Numopoh provisional MOU/SA is being reviewed as provided in the agreement. The community Development Fund Committee is being established. School supplies have recently been provided to the Numopoh Public school in Delkilo City. Phase 1 of hand pumps construction began in the first three communities, Pandia, Bayee and Quiah towns, on April 11, 2015. As a rule, pump constructiin must be timed to end of dry seasons, to assure ground water also in the dry season.
Du-Wolee Nyannue and Worteh
Numopoh, Du-Wollee Nyannue and Worteh communities have in principle agreed to resolve their overlapping land claims under faclitation of team led by Hon. Varney Sirleaf. GVL survey personnell assisted the communities to produce a map setting out community metes and bounds. The map is with the three communities for independent review and comment. An 8 km road linking Nyannue clan to Worteh has been constructed and dedicated. It is now used by over 200 residents in surrounding communities and improves travel to Greenville. The Environmental team completed a Rapid Biodiversity Assessment (RBA) in an indicated area preparation for community planning discussions.
Tartweh/Drapo & Nitrain-East Sinoe
Following an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment and HCV Assessments, an EPA permit and the RSPO NPP public consultation, MOUs signed in 2014 with with Kabada/Nitrain and Tartweh communities for development areas. A lease has been signed with Nitrain and is in negotiation for upper Tartweh. Community and GVL working to conclude payment of community lease agreement fees pending confirmed community bank account signatories. . Land preparation and palm planting are in progress in Nitrain Division 1. An RBA completed in Nitrain division 3 and HCV demarcation completed in Nitrain Division 2. For Tartweh Division 3, the completed HCV demarcation map has been endorsed by Sustainability teams. Presently HCV demarcation is ongoing in Tartweh Divisions 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8.
Dugbe River District
Dugbe River District has been divided by communities and GVL into four MOU/SA areas due to the large size and self determination of the district communities. 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
Participatory Mapping, Household Survey, Environmental and Social Impact Assessment, HCV assessment completed. Draft MOU for consultation and input is ongoing. Community/Future Farm Lands (CFFL) walk-through is the next step.
Nyennnasue – Jadeop
GVL mapping exercise using satellite imagery is ongoing to assess whether the area appears a go or a no go area under our FCP.
Grand Kru County
Land preparation progressing. Implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding and Social Agreement is ongoing, which will include setting up of the localized Community Development Fund, schools maintenance, clean water pumps construction, and review of the provisional MOU towards a permanent MOU. Communities have opted for individual town-based CDFs. Documents to that effect are now being processed. Assessing potential consultants for ESIA and HCV assessment
Land preparation progressing with implementation and review of the MOU/SA ongoing. Community opted for town-based CDFs, which are being processed.
Land preparation progressing with implementation and review of the MOU/SA ongoing. Community opted for town-based CDFs, which are being processed.
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
Nursery land development progressing and planting land preparation, with implementation and review of the MOU/SA ongoing.
Zoloken - Bleebo
Land dispute between the two communities resolved by agreement pre Ebola. Now pending permanent Government boundary demarcation. Assessing potential consultants for 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.
Wedabo (Gbanken, Ylatetwen, Beloken)
FPIC process completed and MOU signed, pending land preparation. Community roads construction and outer boundary SOP demarcation in progress prior to land preparation.
Wedabo - Grandcess
Invitation letter from community to discuss and conduct FPIC received by GVL. GVL staff are studying suitability of the land with the community. Walk around map of community intended area completed and discussed. Further walk around of additional areas proposed by community. Assessing potential consultants for ESIA and HCV assessment.
Wedabo - Juduken
FPIC process and participatory mapping is at point of boundary confirmation with neighbouring communities. Boundary conflict area enclaving ongoing in field between Wedabo and Juduken. Assessing potential consultants for ESIA and HCV assessment
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. Assessing potential consultants for ESIA and HCV assessment
Initially community did not want GVL development so excluded from NPP. Community members have recently approached GVL to request development in their areas. Walk around map completed. Now pending decision whether ESIA and HCV leading to FPIC and NPP can be resourced and economically justified. Assessing potential consultants for ESIA and HCV assessment
Barclaysville (Gbalapoh, Big Suehn, Filoken, Topoh, Fleneken)
Invitation letter received by GVL to start FPIC process. GVL has held exploratory meetings and these are continuing. Initial GPS walk around land area with community nominated leaders and representatives completed. Walk around map completed. Now pending decision whether ESIA and HCV leading to FPIC and NPP can be resourced and economically justified. Assessing potential consultants for ESIA and HCV assessment
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.
Sarpo Community representatives have made initial contact with GVL about the possibility of beginning discussions on development. GVL is considering the initiative based on preliminary satellite survey of the land cover.
Tienpo, Jedepo, Kilepo and Chedepo areas
GVL has been approached to consider development. GVL is following up to discuss 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 CDF members have been appointed by the community. 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 has convened an Oil Palm smallholders working team, in which 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, particularly in Butaw (primarily) and Tarjuowon (initially) communities on a potential program, with the assistance of expertise drawn from Asian and African programmes. The detailed development on the ground was significantly slowed by the Ebola situation. A localized study and concept paper setting forth issues and ideas for a localized model is circulated to stakeholders and is further expected to be available during 2015.
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 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. 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.
Copies of communities’ materials, maps, proceedings and agreements are available to be obtained subject to definitive written prior informed consent of each particular community.
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.
GVL encourages Civil Society and Non Governmental Organizations participation.
Diaspora and Migrated Community Members
Please read the GVL communities guide “Important Things for People to Know”, available on the GVL website.
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 land in the communities that have invited GVL?
GVL does not touch land without communities’ and private owners’ permission, which is ensured through multiple steps of process. 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, 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 individuals.