Voconiq Reflexivity Pty Ltd and Mejrkh Communications and Media advisory have hosted the first ever webinar on social licence in the extractive and agricultural sector in Zimbabwe.
Guest of Honour and Voconiq CEO and founder Dr Kieren Moffat who spent over a decade researching the issue of social license and trust between companies and communities in the extractive sector in Australia said they are very excited to be working with Mejrkh to deliver the service that they have been developing over the last 13 years into Zimbabwe and across Africa.
“It is important to bring a systematic approach to the issues of social licence, just like we bring a systematic approach to measuring the performance of every other part of the business. We should be using systematic methods to understand the social performance of mining companies and other types of companies as well,” he said.
Dr Moffat said that data from their research indicated that the voice of communities was the missing link.
“What became clear to us and almost a truism in that work is that where there is trust in a relationship between community and company anything feels possible in that relationship.
“We identified a gap very early in our research that companies have very clear ideas about how their relationship should be with communities and governments have an interest in the way companies operate. What was missing from that equation is the voice of communities, said Dr Moffat”
Mejrkh lead consultant Munyaradzi Hwengwere stressed the need for safeguarding social licence by entities in the mining and agriculture sectors especially as the country moves towards elections.
“Resource sector has a bigger social impact and need to be monitored. Every time Zimbabwe goes for elections- we are two years from the elections-there are two things that happen. Number one- issues of reputational risk become much more pronounced. Number two-communities become more demanding in terms of what they require from the resource sector.
“The government sector also requires much more demonstrable activity by the resource sector in terms of what you actually do in benefitting those communities. But without measuring or accessing the threats that come through you are going to find out that you have communities that are very angry and that’s why we are very happy about this partnership we have with Voconiq.
“You can actually research and identify the threats, know what you need to do to impact that problem,” he said.
Mejrkh and Voconiq have partnered to provide the latest scientific tools in management of social licence. Mejrkh is a knowledge management and communications company and market leader in the provision of strategic stakeholder solutions within the local mining, agriculture and enterprises sector while Voconiq is a data science company headquartered in Brisbane,Australia.
By partnering a trusted local firm, Voconiq believes industry in Zimbabwe will enjoy global best practice and technology delivered with a local touch.
Voconiq has helped mining and infrastructure companies, agricultural research organisations, and local government agencies globally to build stronger and more productive relationships with their communities.
Under the partnership Mejrkh and Voconiq will work together to help industry address social risk by leveraging Voconiq Local Voices as a key element of their community relations strategy while Mejrkh, will deliver the critical community-facing data collection component of the Voconiq Local Voices process.
Mejrkh have over a decade in managing stakeholder relations and communications for prominent companies in the mining, agriculture and enterprises value chains.
Founded in 2019, Voconiq are committed to connecting communities everywhere with the companies, industries and institutions that work alongside them to support the achievement of shared value, purpose and perspective.
They have worked with clients in 9 countries in South America, North America, Europe, Africa and the Asia Pacific.