Project Management for Road Building, Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
Year - 2012 - 2017
Client - DFID
This project addresses the significance of maintaining the road infrastructure in Eastern DRC, a region that has experienced conflict and natural disasters over many years,resulting in environmental, social and economic destruction. The isolated population in this region needs to benefit from security support as well as basic services and access to economic opportunities if their conditions are to improve. The Government of DRC and the UN Mission (MONUSCO) have placed this issue among their highest priorities. Through DFID funding, priority strategic roads have been undergoing building or upgrading. The importance of road maintenance is also recognized as an integral part in ensuring sustained improvement in traffic and cargo flow. To ensure community ownership and employment generation, the project seeks to engage employment from among the local population. Furthermore, effort to mitigate negative social and environmental impacts of road construction are to be factored in. It is expected that the improved security and increased income for the local population will result in further government and donor interest and programming in this region.
The challenging context of the region meant IPE Global needed to address a number of issues to be able to deliver and achieve the project’s targets. These included language barriers, insecurity in region, inaccessibility of roads due to tough climate conditions, hostility from the local population and change in project priorities.
IPE Global ensured that learning and experiences from the first phase of the project (do we have dates?) were applied to help address and mitigate challenges. By strengthening the communication channel with provincial actors, ensuring continuous information sharing and taking part in meetings with strategic players in the region, project progress and challenges faced are highlighted regularly with stakeholders. Hiring research assistants from the remote villages has meant security incidences are swiftly reported to the project office. Developing mechanism that ensure long-term security on the roads have included recruitment of ex-combatants into the roads construction project. IPE Global has also developed a capacity building strategy for local contractors and has initiated training programmes in bidding and delivering road construction. A Social Inclusion and Employment strategy has been developed and implemented during the feasibility phase and continues throughout the construction phase. IPE Global ensures environmental protection by designing projects under its Social and Environmental Management Plan (SEMP), such as environment education programmes, road safety programmes, HIV/AIDS awareness and behavioral change training and sensitization on eligibility for compensation for resettlement.
IPE Global has introduced, developed and implemented a series of measures, strategies and plans that will not only enable achievement of the projects goals and objectives but will also inform and influence future projects with potential to also influence government policies in the road sector. Among the numerous guidelines, plans, manuals and protocols are:
- Social Inclusion and Employment Strategy: By developing a Social Inclusion and Employment Strategy, IPE Global has successfully set out modalities to employ women, demobilised soldiers, poor and vulnerable community members. It has also mandated equal pay for equal work regardless of gender, further strengthening the trust among the local population. Additionally, each contractor has been charged with the responsibility of ensuring at least 30% of the workers are women. Such initiatives have helped the project draw the confidence and support of the local communities and authorities.
- Social and Environmental Management Plan (SEMP): This document outlines the policies, legal and institutional frameworks for managing social and environmental impacts during the road construction project and contractors will also be required to adhere to the guidelines. Training and capacity strengthening activities ensure the plan is applied and well understood.
IPE Global’s ongoing activities in community sensitisation has generated interest and openness among the local population towards welcoming government related projects. An increasingly conducive environment has been established where law and order is enforced through government presence and this is gradually encouraging interest by other donors to initiate projects and programmes.