Step 1: Do Desktop Preparation
Before you make your first visit to the project site, prepare yourself. This does not need to be complicated, but it is critical. Go online and search for information on a short list of key factors such as conflict in the area, presence of indigenous peoples or traditional sites, protected environmental areas, past mining activity and attitudes towards it. To find this information, search for the following: the name of the community and province/region, civil society groups in the area, the name of your or other companies that work or have worked there, and so on. The following checklist will help you get a preliminary sense of the above-ground situation in the project area:
Situation around the project area
Step 2: Conduct a Company Briefing
Before you or anyone else goes to the project site, you should discuss how you will approach community engagement. In particular, arrange a briefing with your senior management team. This will help ensure you can effectively represent your company at the site level and will help you feel comfortable answering questions on the company’s behalf. During the briefing, ask for clarity on the following key areas:
What can you commit to on behalf of the company? What can you not? Examples:
How does senior management want the company to be presented? Examples:
What engagement-related materials are available?
Create a company brochure in the local language to present to people in the community. The brochure should have general information about the company, specific information about the planned exploration project, and contact information for you and for the company.
A company brochure demonstrates willingness to share information proactively, keeps the community informed, and opens the lines of communication. The information in the brochure can also be a starting point for dialogue between you and the community. Information could include:
Your company may not be accustomed to developing speaking points, but it is important that field staff have at least with some information or materials to share with local stakeholders. One useful resource you can develop with input from senior management is a company brochure.
Step 3: Prepare For Your First Visit
Setting up meetings with high-level people or organizations before you arrive in-country will help you make the most of your first few days on the ground. These meetings are an opportunity to ask about other groups or institutions you should contact (likely, you will be referred to them during these sessions). The following are key people and organizations you should arrange to meet:
When You Arrive