Energy, mining and infrastructure projects can make a significant contribution to the sustainable development of local communities as long as social and environmental impacts are managed properly and people are involved in an inclusive and meaningful manner. Just flying in foreign experts for short missions 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 reflects our view that complex social problems cannot be solved by one single actor or technical expert and certainly not when they are parachuted in from outside; it requires a team of ‘embedded’ specialists working with, and building the dialogue capacities of 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 private sector companies, but also for local communities, civil society organisations, and (local) governments with whom we are working closely to achieve socially acceptable results for everyone.