Energy, mining and infrastructure projects can make a significant contribution to the sustainable development of local communities as long as the social impact is managed properly and people are involved meaningfully. Flying in ‘experts’ does not work. Long-term success requires a different approach:
‘Timu’ means ‘team’ in Swahili, which is our preferred way of working with both clients and beneficiaries. It also exemplifies our view that complex social problems cannot be solved by one single actor or technical expert and certainly not from the outside; it requires a team of ‘embedded’ specialists working with, and in some cases even representing, the various stakeholder groups on the ground.
We believe in ‘deep listening’, i.e. getting to the core of problems by consulting a broad range of stakeholder groups, incl. the ‘smaller voices’ that often do not get heard and, if ignored, can create obstacles and even fuel conflict. All this talk is then translated into action, by helping stakeholders to come up with joint solutions and a realistic action plan that is genuinely ‘owned’ and implemented by their representatives.
It does matter where you come from and what you’ve done before. Therefore, Timu associates are mostly from the area where the work is and speak the appropriate cultural and stakeholder language. Timu associates are trusted partners not only for local communities and civil society organizations, but also for (local) governments and private sector companies with whom we are working closely to achieve socially acceptable results for everyone.