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Kenya: Case studies explore good practices with community engagement in energy projects

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5 July 2018

Kipeto Wind Energy Project: A case study on best practice in community engagement in energy projects

Author: Kanyinke Sena

The Kipeto Wind Power Project in Kajiado County, Kenya hopes to inject 100 MW of clean, efficient and renewable energy to the national grid... The Kipeto Wind Power Project area is inhabited by the Maasai, a semi nomadic indigenous community whose main livelihood system is livestock keeping... In developing such projects, investors are required by law and both international and national human rights standards to ensure stakeholder participation and benefits to the communities in the project area. Noting that communities in Kenya and other parts of the world have raised serious concerns about the negative impacts of such projects on their land rights, livelihoods and cultures, this case study demonstrates the value of complaint mechanisms and community engagement for new large scale constructions to increase energy generation... Key lessons [include]: 

  • Investing in social capital is necessary for the company even in the absence of express legal requirements.
  • Involvement and commitment of the company’s top most person(s) to secure community rights help ensure project success. 
  • To secure indigenous peoples rights, it is critical that investor’s should lease rather compulsorily acquire or purchase indigenous communities lands. 
  • Negotiations with the community must be carried out in good faith, in an open and transparent environment. Community engagement is not a one-off event... A company must therefore be prepared to invest significant resources and focus on long-term financial sustainability instead of short-lived gains.
  • A robust grievance mechanism—particularly one that incorporates traditional dispute resolution processes—helps address conflicts in a timely manner.

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4 July 2018

Best practice in community engagement in energy projects: Case studies from Kenya, Tanzania & Haiti

Author: Kanyinke Sena

Developing countries will account for more than 65% of world energy consumption by 2040 from 54% in 2010... Affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all, is not only critical for the eradication of extreme poverty in developing countries, but will also be essential for the elimination of avoidable child deaths, achievement of universal secondary education, more inclusive growth, gender equity and sustainable land-use among other UN Sustainable Development Goals... [A]s energy demand expands, the energy market is evolving from traditional sources like coal and hydropower, towards lower carbon, renewable energy sources...Violations against communities have included violent evictions from their lands and the lack of benefits from energy projects developed in their territories. This report... combines experiences from three cases studies on constructive community engagement in the design and development of energy access projects. The case studies were undertaken in Kenya, Tanzania and Haiti.

Download the full document here