Tools to support community-driven initiatives

Communities can undertake a variety of initiatives within the phase of a private sector project. The following are the main tools currently available to support communities to undertake initiatives for the following purposes:



    Business & human rights documentation project

The project aims to provide support for affected communities to effectively document the corporate-related human rights abuses they are experiencing. While documentation itself will not be enough necessarily lead to resolution of the problems communities face, the project is designed to spur community-developed documentation in a way that provides greater awareness of the situation they face, and connect them with the support and alliances needed to maximise the power of this documentation. The tool currently takes the form of a checklist that was developed through open consultations and is available in 9 languages.

Cases: The tool is currently in its pilot phase.  Please contact the coordinators to express interest in piloting it.

Contact: Tatiana Bejar, Intl. Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights ([email protected]) & Annabel Short, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre ([email protected])


Human rights impact assessment


"Getting it Right" tool

 Photo: Briana Connors / FLOC

Getting it Right is a participatory approach for analysing the human rights impacts of private sector investments. It is a computer-based programme that enables communities and the organizations that support them to identify human rights impacts, propose responses, and engage government and corporate actors to take action to respect human rights.  The tool provides detailed step-by-step guidance on the process in English and French.  It also includes guidance on developing a work plan and budget, as undertaking an impact assessment requires considerable resources and time-commitment.

Cases: Completed case studies are available on the migrant farmworkers in the tobacco industry in USA and Guarani indigenous communities in Bolivia (only available in Spanish).  Current projects underway in Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico.

Contact: Sarah Zoen, Oxfam America ([email protected]); Geneviève Paul, FIDH ([email protected])


Stakeholder & power mapping


Corporate structure mapping in agriculture

This guide is for advocates working to support communities whose land rights, lives and livelihoods are affected by agricultural investments. It provides guidance on how to follow the money to identify and leverage pressure points along agricultural investment chains to defend land and natural resource rights. It explains how to collect evidence and conduct a variety of advocacy strategies to hold responsible actors accountable.
[See worksheets on pages 36-39; summary of guide on pages 137-138]

Contact: Emma Blackmore, Intl. Institute for Environment and Development ([email protected])

Grievance mechanisms


Community-driven grievance mechanisms project

Photo credit: EarthRights International

This project proposes to create a community-driven alternative to company-developed operational grievance mechanisms (OGM).  These mechanisms would be designed primarily by the affected populations themselves to meet their needs and expectations as rights-holders seeking an adequate remedy. The scope of the OGM, the processes by which it functions, the people who staff it, and the outcomes of individual grievance complaints will all be dictated by the communities themselves, based on international human rights principles and their own traditional conceptions of fair process and just outcomes.

Cases: The project is currently piloting its model in Myanmar’s Thilawa Special Economic Zone.

Contact: Katherine McDonnell, EarthRights International ([email protected])



SOMO’s Human Rights & Grievance Mechanisms Programme

somo grievance mechanisms 

This website aims to improve the accessibility and effectiveness of non-judicial grievance mechanisms for stakeholders who experience adverse impacts on their human rights as a result of business activities. Among other resources, it provides a step-by-step guide for affected stakeholders for filing a complaint with a grievance mechanism.

Contact: Kristen Genovese, Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations SOMO ([email protected])


Worker-driven social responsibility


A group of organizations working to promote a model of social responsibility that puts workers at the centre.  The Coalition of Immokalee Workers pioneered the model through its Fair Food Program in Florida to improve working conditions among tomato workers.  There are three key factors distinguishing what he calls the Fair Food Program's worker-driven social responsibility model from traditional corporate social responsibility programs: (1) Worker-driven design and implementation; (2) Third party monitoring of working conditions required by the Fair Food Program code; (3) Market consequences through retailers committing to cut purchases from growers who do not comply with the code.

Cases: Fair Food Program improving conditions for tomato workers in Florida, USA; Milk with Dignity improving conditions for migrant workers in the milk industry in Vermont, USA.

Contact: Greg Asbed, Coalition of Immokalee Workers ([email protected])