Engaging the Palma Civil Society Platform – Adding a Valuable Local Dimension

Engagement with civil society, especially civil society organisations (CSOs) active in the Project Area of Impact, represents an important dimension of the Project’s overall stakeholder engagement program.

In Mozambique, CSO platforms are well established at national, provincial and local levels. The Palma Civil Society Platform was established in 2015 and comprises a wide range of member organisations including Sekelekani, Conselho Islâmico, Congresso Islâmico, Centro Terra Viva, UDAC – Palma (the District Farmers’ Association), Muleide, ASPALMA, Gabinete Jurídico da Mulher, Conselho Crisstão de Moçambique, Solidariedade Moçambicana, AMETRAMO and UPC (União Provincial de Camponese) – Cabo Delgado. Member organisations thus represent a combination of local, provincial and national-level CSOs, the latter electing to identify a local representative/establish a local office as part of their work.

In line with the Project CSO/NGO engagement plan, the Stakeholder Engagement team agreed with local CSO to convene monthly meetings.  These meetings aim to be responsive to information needs and to what is materials to local organisations, and provide a regular opportunity to discuss any concerns member organisations may have. The monthly meeting agenda always includes an update on project construction and other activities, and delivery of environmental and social management plans, including stakeholder engagement and resettlement.

Visits to the project construction site, and Quitunda (the resettlement village) are regularly scheduled.

A number of the CSOs are members of the Independent CSO/NGO Monitoring Platform (ICSMP) that monitors the project environmental and social performance, and, on a number of occasions, members of the Palma CSO Platform have met with the Independent Environmental and Social Consultants working on behalf of the Project Lenders, and indeed a number of Lender representatives.

The Project considers relations with the Platform positive. Unlike engagement with provincial and national CSOs/NGOs, engagement with the Palma Civil Society Platform has a more grass-roots dynamic, reflecting the fact that members live with and/or visit Project Affected Communities and in this capacity have a ground-level “real time” view of operations. For example, members of the Palma Civil Society Platform were taken to lands slated for replacement agricultural lands, thereby not only demonstrating the Project commitment and effort to delivery of this important component of compensation but also seeing first-hand some of the challenges in delivering the commitment.

The Project appreciates the relationship with and the contribution that civil society organisations bring to the Project and more generally to on-going development of Palma District. The immediate on the ground relations with the Palma Civil Society Platform brings a positive dynamic to engagement, allowing discussion of different perspectives, concerns, and challenges and the joint identification of constructive solutions.

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