community

Highlights 2019
- 90 community initiatives delivered.
- 120 teachers, facilitators employed.
- 25,000+ community members impacted.
- 13 project sites received community initiatives.
- All active projects have community plans in place for 2020.

We recognise the value of strong local partnerships and community engagement in the areas where we are developing, constructing and operating projects. Our sites are often in isolated areas where there are indigenous communities. We engage with the local community at the very start of our development process to keep them informed about the project development and to understand their needs so we can plan together the community investment strategy. We recognise our community investment strategy will be different in each area that we operate.

Chile

Co-operation agreement signed with University of Atacama supporting solar studies
Mainstream Chile Community Relations team supporting school environmental programme

We are at the early stages of our community investment plans in Chile. Our first step was to draw a stakeholder map, to get to knowthe area, understand who lives there and who we should be working with. We then engage with community leaders and partners to codesign projects and initiatives and incorporate their feedback into the programmes.

Once the programme is agreed, we sign a longterm contract with the community for the whole construction and operation period. We establish a community fund where we invest in projects that contribute to local development in their specific communities. We work in three major areas: education and capacity building, entrepreneurship and cultural heritage, which is especially important for indigenous people.

As our business in Chile moves several projects into the construction phase, we are working on projects to address the skills gap and build capacity.

South Africa

Loeriesfontein wind farm capacity building beneficiaries
Noupoort wind farm supports career day at local school

Mainstream Asset Management South Africa (MAMSA) is contracted to deliver economic development and social economic development initiatives at three operational wind plant developed and constructed by Mainstream in which it now holds a minority interest.

As our presence in South Africa is more established and our initial community programmes more embedded, we took the decision to change our strategy throughout the region. The change involves moving from a needs-based approach that can sometimes lead to a dependency on the donor, to one that is more empowering and sustainable. We call this approach Asset- Based Community Development or ABCD strategy. We have rolled it out across five wind farms and four communities.

The strategy involves convening workshops with community representatives to discuss the assets that are present in the community. Examples of these are: natural assets, economic assets, local knowledge, human resources. The next exercise is to understand the financial input and where the outflow of financial resources takes place, and whether there are opportunities to stem these flows, enriching the community by capitalising on their own resources. The second part of the workshop looks at establishing a vision for the community where the identified resources and assets are optimised. Community groups work together to draft project plans and present these to the workshop participants. A list of agreed projects is then identified, and a grant administrator appointed to provide seed funding. A follow-up meeting is organised to track progress, not just focusing on financial gain but also on other positive impacts such as social cohesion.

Vietnam

Provincial delegates attending capacity building event

In June 2019, Mainstream sponsored and hosted a one-day renewable energy capacity building event for provinces in Vietnam together with the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) and the European Climate Fund (ECF). The programme ‘Overview of renewable energy in Vietnam: Challenges and Opportunities” was attended by 50 leaders from 24 provinces across Vietnam and focused on providing an overview of:

  • the global renewable energy industry, renewable energy trends and developments in Vietnam, 
  • details of opportunities renewable energy can bring to the provinces including FDI investment attraction,
  • job creation and potential supply chain development, and
  • information on the challenges investors are facing, and the support/assistance that local authorities could provide to businesses.

Mainstream will continue to roll-out programmes in 2020 focused on areas of knowledge transfer to further enhance developing the Vietnamese renewable energy industry.