Local capacity building

 Capacity building programs can enhance the capabilities and opportunities for local institutions and communities affected by hydro developments.


Issue

Hydropower developments should provide opportunities for local capacity building. This is particularly the case where communities have been displaced or their sources of income have been affected. Creating and maintaining educational and economic opportunities that empower
communities to re-establish themselves under changed conditions is a central factor in
economic sustainability.


Management

Central to the economic and social sustainability of hydropower developments is the need to support capacity building within local communities and institutions through the demonstrable provision and support of increased capabilities and opportunities. The role that governments and project developers play in this process is integral to community acceptance of the project, the long term sustainability of the scheme and the effective distribution of benefits.

The development and support of local capabilities and opportunities at various levels may involve:
  • providing employment opportunities;
  • establishing economic opportunities;
  • the investment of funds in long term development and training programs;
  • the establishment of training and community infrastructure and facilities (schools, crèches, market places, tourist facilities);
  • the development of skills for employment;
  • providing access to commercial electricity supply, water and sanitation.

Building and maintaining a hydro scheme can be heavily reliant on the use of local resources, not just materials such as rock fill but also through the employment of local labour and contracting of local businesses. Training and employing local people brings them into the cash economy and provides them with skills. The success of such a process is best initiated early in the community consultation process through discussion and involvement of local communities affected by development.

Participants in capacity building processes may need to be provided with incentives to participate, and may need encouragement through consensus building or conflict management techniques.

Chilime, Nepal

This scheme was a landmark project in that it was scoped and developed using local expertise and was funded entirely from within Nepal.

 Chilime, Nepal (pdf 41kb)

La Grande (LaForge-1), Canada

With the LaForge-1 hydropower development in Quebec, Canada, the Cree Amerindian community have been extensively engaged in the management and implementation of environmental rehabilitation/mitigation programs, boosting local capacity and maintaining traditional lifestyles.

 La Grande (LaForge-1), Canada (pdf 63kb)

Yasaka Dam, Japan

Infrastructure upgrades and integrated planning at Yasaka Dam, Japan, are facilitating sustainable expansion of a multi-function scheme to support new enterprises and community activities.

 Yasaka Dam, Japan (pdf 42kb)

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