Chevron in Bangladesh Delivering Energy and Empowering the Community | 2016-02-14 | daily-sun.com

Chevron in Bangladesh Delivering Energy and Empowering the Community

Naser Ahmed, Director, External Affairs, Chevron Bangladesh     14 February, 2016 12:00 AM printer

Chevron in Bangladesh Delivering Energy and Empowering the Community

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’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 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 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 started The Alternative Livelihood Program in 2006 with 200 underprivileged families in Bibiyana to enhance income through various capacity building initiatives. The main objectives of the program were to establish “village development organizations”, a forum for organizing villagers into self-help groups, providing skills training and seed funds. Over the past decade, this program has engaged more than 3,700 families in all three field locations. More than 2,400 of whom have been successful in setting up their own livelihood development enterprises.

 

Chevron has supported local communities with 1,000 energy-efficient cooking stoves and 280 solar panels. Chevron has encouraged villagers to engage in organic and improved farming initiatives and has introduced Technical support including irrigation, HYV seeds, fertilizer, which have boosted the production of cash crops, fruits, vegetables, pond fish, poultry, duck, goat and cattle farming.

 

Workforce development has also been a focus to enhance skills based income opportunities. A two years program launched in 2014 provided skills-based training for job placement and enterprise development opportunities to 498 unemployed youths and women.

 

In September 2014, Chevron Bangladesh announced a $10 million commitment to create the Bangladesh Partnership Initiative (BPI), a five-year program to complement, expand and maximize the impact of its existing economic development and social investment programs. The program has been designed to achieve sustainable income growth, and improve employability, economic inclusiveness and livelihoods in communities near Chevron’s operations in the Greater Sylhet region.

 

In September 2015, Chevron announced that it is partnering with BRAC, the world’s largest NGO, on an 18-month enterprise development pilot under the BPI. Under this pilot, 20,000 people living near Chevron’s gas-fields will be targeted and it is expected that about 1,500 enterprises will be established.

Pic : One of the paramedics who helped provide health care services

to the community through the Chevron-supported network of three

Smiling Sun clinics and 34 satellite clinics.

 

To efficiently deliver quality support to the community’s doorstep, Chevron Bangladesh sponsors three community clinics. The Smiling Sun clinics, which are managed by Pathfinder International, are part of the USAID/DFID-sponsored nationwide NGO Health Service Delivery Program (NHSDP).

 

The clinics are now firmly entrenched in the area providing quality, affordable treatment and diagnostic services. Least advantaged community members are able to access medical consultations and medicines at the clinics. The clinics regularly hold awareness-raising campaigns on maternal & child health, provide counselling for expectant mothers, and education on safe hygiene and sanitation. Regular first aid training and immunization programs are also held.  The clinics also support 34 satellite clinics, to penetrate the communities at the grassroots level.

 

Currently, around 130,000 patient services are provided via the clinics and satellites every year. The Smiling Sun clinics are an excellent example of Chevron’s partnership with the community. Land for both Bibiyana clinics was donated by local benefactors, and clinic activities are overseen by local Advisory Committees.

 

Regular financial assistance from local communities ensures increase in sustainability and provision of free services and supplies to those in greatest need.

 

Chevron also sponsors annual eye camps, where each year, more than 1,000 people with ophthalmological conditions receive prescription medicines, glasses and cataract-removal surgery.

 

 

Chevron strives to improve the quality and access to education for students in the areas where we operate. Our scholarship drive for high-achieving underprivileged students was launched in 2001, and the number of recipients has steadily increased, to more than 1,600 today. Two local NGOs currently oversee the scholarship program, which also include teacher training and endowment fund support. We also support programs to improve children’s learning experiences, including the addition of computer learning centers in two schools and the supply of science and sports equipment, uniforms, school furniture, and library materials.

 

In 2015, in partnership with Save the Children, we announced a three year extension of the Non-Formal Primary Education (NFPE) program for the communities residing near Chevron’s Bibiyana, Jalalabad and Moulavi Bazar Gas Plants. 1,800 out-of-school children in 60 one-room community schools completed a pre-primary component during the first phase of this collaboration with Chevron. In addition, 1,200 primary-school students will benefit from after-school enrichment activities and remedial support. The project is also set to include training for 120 teachers; parenting education services for 1,800 parents, and the formation of 60 Center Management Committees.

 

Being a Good Neighbor

Chevron employees are active members of the community. In 2014, more than 1,100 employees donated blood during Chevron’s annual drive. The Bangladesh Red Crescent Society recognized Chevron as the largest corporate blood donor for 2013 and 2014.

 

Chevron employees have also helped plant nearly 16,000 saplings along roadsides and around schools, homes, clinics and tea-growing estates near its three fields.

 

Chevron has launched a comprehensive road-safety awareness program for the communities near the Bibiyana gas field and the city of Sylhet. In the first year, nearly 190 drivers received defensive driving training. In 2014 alone, materials were distributed to 4,000 schoolchildren and 60 teachers at 25 schools in the Bibiyana area. Six Community Road Safety Awareness groups were also formed.

 

Chevron contributes to the economy of Bangladesh in several ways. As the largest foreign investor, we provide employment for about 4,000 Bangladeshis.

 

Our work contributes to the local economy. In 2014 alone, we spent more than $13 million on materials and labor from local suppliers near our areas of operation.

 

For more info: http://www.chevronbangladesh.com

 


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