Training CROs to Strengthen Social License

Developing and maintaining a social license has become a key success factor for extractive companies. The performance of Community Relations or Liaison Officers (CROs or CLOs) plays a critical role in this process as we heard during a recent training event in Central Asia. How do you boost the performance of your CRO teams?  Shortlink:

Last week, Prizma delivered a training workshop to a group of 17 CROs and colleagues working at a number of gold mining properties associated with Centerra Gold in the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia and Turkey. Prizma delivered this course in collaboration with LEAD International.

This training workshop was designed to enable course participants to apply a more systematic approach to stakeholder engagement, enhance their communication and mediation skills, and share knowledge about grievance mechanisms. It integrated materials published by organizations such as ICMM and IFC/CAO (many thanks!).

The course was also designed to provide opportunities for CROs to interact with colleagues in different departments (community relations, environment, government relations and media) and different countries (Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia and Turkey). This process was supported by team-building oriented activities, including a real challenge exercise.

The challenge exercise allowed participants to analyze a case study about Kumtor. As part of this, several stakeholders participated in a rapid engagement exercise. This provided participants with an opportunity to apply their learning. It also allowed them to recognize and tap into the expertise of colleagues in different departments and countries. Subsequently, each team discussed its findings and recommendations with Kumtor’s President.

Looking back, there were lots of interesting ‘aha’ and learning moments. One of my favorites was a metaphor used by one of the course participants who likened Kumtor to a stream. She also highlighted an important role of CROs and colleagues: ensuring that Kumtor’s community investments – smaller creeks originating from the Kumtor stream – are directed to create and grow orchards and do not disappear in the sand.

As the proverbial proof is in the pudding, I was pleased to note that Kumtor also announced signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with one if its key biodiversity stakeholders: Flora and Fauna International  (see here: ).

How do you improve the performance and impact of Community Relations Officers? Does training play a role in your approach or  do you not have an adequate training budget for this? What have been the most effective approaches you have encountered?