Energy Bangla

Energy electricity and environment news portal

Dhaka Sunday,  May 29, 2022

Chevron in Bangladesh

Delivering Energy and Empowering the Community

Naser Ahmed

At Chevron, the core priority is to deliver affordable energy safely and reliably to support economic development and human aspirations for a rising quality of life. As a partner with governments, suppliers and communities, Chevron contributes to health care, education and economic development for mutual benefit and progress. We build trusted relationships by focusing on engaging our stakeholders and managing our social impacts through our Environmental, Social and Health Impact Assessment process, and processes for stakeholder engagement and legislative and regulatory advocacy.
chevron.bibiyana

Chevron’s subsidiary in Bangladesh is not only the country’s largest natural gas producer – supplying around 50% of Bangladesh’s natural gas consumption from its three gas fields in the northeast – but also the country’s largest foreign investor. In Bangladesh, thousands of people in and around Chevron’s areas of operation in the country’s northeast are being benefitted through partnerships the company has forged with the community and NGOs in a collective bid to address a range of socioeconomic issues. Our strategic social investments in the core thematic areas of health, education and economic development collectively reach nearly 37,000 people living near our areas of operation.
chevron.bibiyana1

Chevron demonstrates its commitment to the communities where it operates by generating jobs, employing local workforces, and supporting local supply chains. This business strategy establishes Chevron as a partner of choice that helps strengthen local economies and improve livelihoods. In 2014, we spent over $13 million on materials and labour from local suppliers based around our areas of operation – of this, $7 million alone was spent during the course of the Bibiyana Expansion (BYX) Project. We provided employment opportunities for nearly 1,700 local workers, of whom about 1,100 were for the BYX Project.

chevron.bibiyana2

Skills development trainings and seed funds provided to over 3,700 families in 80 villages;
Over 2300 small & medium sized enterprises established
1,000 improved cook-stoves, 280 solar-home systems, six solar-school systems; four bio-gas plants under ALO;
600 unemployed youths receiving vocational trainings in 15 categories;

Chevron initiated a planned and structured social responsibility programming in 2005, during the development of Bibiyana – now Bangladesh’s largest producing gas field. We realized that our initiatives would never have a lasting impact unless they were focused on the community’s key needs, and designed to empower and energize them to drive their own futures.

The Bibiyana area was largely underdeveloped, with few signs of government or NGO-initiated development when work for the gas field first began in 2005. Communities were engaged mostly in traditional agro-based activities, (ploughing with oxen, cattle, etc.), with Chevron being the only industrial entity in the area. Behavior norms

We developed a robust plan that included a thorough socioeconomic baseline survey to gain a comprehensive understanding of the challenges and opportunities; and a social impact assessment, to gauge the impacts of our projects on the communities. When the results came out in 2006, they were eye-opening.

27% of the 3,126 families surveyed lived on less than $2 a day, while about 40% lived below poverty line, i.e. less than 2,000 k/cal/day. 36% could not read or write and only 7% had finished high school. The drop-out rates were high, and qualified, trained teachers were scarce. There were no healthcare facilities in the area. 76% of the population was dependent on traditional faith-healers, and 76% used unhygienic sanitation.
Chevron’s healthcare Programs
Established and finance three community clinics
Currently, around 107,000/year health services provided via these clinics and 34 satellite spots;
Over 1,300 children immunized in 2014
Over 3,500 health-cards issued for treatment of poor & ultra-poor in 2014

chevron.bibiyana3

It was based on these findings that sustainable programs were developed on livelihoods development, education and health with an aim to empower the community to a point where they were able to address their own needs by themselves. Aside from regular meetings that laid the foundation for a lasting relationship with the community, processes were also put in place to engage stakeholders to systematically assess and address the social impacts of projects and record and close-out grievances.
With Bangladesh being the 8th most populous country in the world, land is a precious commodity. During field development, Chevron supported landowners to help ensure they received reasonable compensation from the acquiring agency (the Government in this case) in a timely manner. With heavy vehicle traffic expected on community roads, road safety – an alien concept – was also identified as a key social impact.

In 2014, after following this plan for seven years, Chevron announced a $10 million commitment to create the Bangladesh Partnership Initiative (BPI), a five-year program to support economic development for communities in the Greater Sylhet region. During its lifespan, the BPI will work with leading development organizations to establish business and workforce development programs.
It was important to come up with programs for income-generating activities that elevated communities’ socioeconomic conditions. For livelihoods, Chevron engaged three partner-NGOs – Center for Natural Resource Studies (CNRS), Institute for Development Affairs (IDEA), and Prochesta that organized our communities into groups. Members receive training in specific agro/non-agro enterprises of their interest. Chevron then contributes an initial start-up capital to each group, and members also add a pre-determined amount, enabling the fund to grow. Each member draws upon this fund pool to start their own enterprises, using their newly-acquired skills.

Awareness-raising sessions are organized on legal, human rights, early marriage, birth-control, hygiene & sanitation, and the importance of education. Functional literacy drives for women and village libraries are also examples of initiatives.

Over 1,600 scholarships awarded annually.
Pass-rate in Chevron-supported schools in 2014 Secondary Certificate Examinations was ~90%.
With Save the Children, 60 non-formal, one-room schools have been established, accommodating 1,800 out-of-school children; 1,200 primary-school students have benefitted from after-school activities and remedial support.
Construction and infrastructure support sponsored for four schools and colleges. Other support programs to improve children’s learning experiences include computer learning centers in two schools, science & sports equipment, uniforms, and library materials.

A structured and robust education program was launched in 2006. Two NGOs joined in 2013 with Chevron to launch a new school empowering program, which included teachers’ recruitment & training, scholarships and infrastructure development program.

Chevron’s partnership with Save the Children launched in 2008, which targets out-of-school children aged 8-10 years. A new phase started in 2013, which will be concluded in early 2018. The three Chevron-sponsored community clinics, part of the USAID-sponsored Smiling Sun Franchise Program and implemented by international NGO Pathfinder International, are now firmly entrenched in the area providing quality, affordable treatment and diagnostic services, with a major emphasis on awareness-raising campaigns on a range of health and hygiene issues. The network of satellite clinics ensures service delivery right to the doorsteps of the community.

Chevron believes that the key to success to any social development initiative is to fuel people’s basic aspiration for self-improvement. We strive to inspire communities to drive their own development. More than anything else, our programs are focused on building awareness of a better future. The very idea of hope can act as a catalyst for real, sustainable change.

Comment here