By A. Kapini Atafori-
-The Volta River Authority (VRA) recognizes that affordable electric power is a critical catalyst for the economic growth and prosperity of Ghana, and under its current Management, the Authority has been professionally and responsibly fulfilling its mandate by producing and providing electricity in the country.
In pursuit of the VRA’s mandate to provide electricity for Ghana’s socio-economic development, the company realizes that its activities have social, economic and environmental impacts in the communities in which it operates. The VRA, therefore, adheres to core international ethical standards and practices in all its operations inside and outside the country.
As the one of the most viable state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in Ghana, the VRA runs its business in a socially responsible way in order to create an environment in which it can flourish today and in the future. By implementing socially responsible policies and projects, the VRA creates sustainable benefits and value for the country, its citizens and the communities in which it does its business.
With the current significant improvement in the approach to the practice of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the country, the VRA has made conscious efforts to align CSR activities to its business strategies in the communities where it operates.
To this end, the VRA has developed its CSR initiatives to reflect standards based on national and international guidelines, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and global best practices in CSR.
The VRA’s valued proposition is to conduct its business sustainably with maximum positive impacts while mitigating the negative effects of its operations on its communities and the environment, including ensuring economic benefits for its key stakeholders like customers, employees, suppliers, regulators, legislators, policy makers, civil society organizations, government and the people from the impacted communities.
The VRA’s strategic objectives as spelt out in its CSR policy can be grouped into nine actions. These are Minimizing Negative Environmental Impact; Transparency with Communities; and Strengthening Partnerships. The others are Staff Motivation and Involvement; Commitments to Contractors; and Commitment to Partners/Donors. The rest are Client and Customer Satisfaction; Regular Satisfaction; and Sustainability. See below a diagrammatic representation of the actions for achieving VRA’s goals in its CSR framework.
VRA’s CSR provides sustainable solutions through its diverse CSR initiatives and activities which have earned the Authority an excellent standing and enhanced its image as a responsible and reputable corporate citizen. The CSR of the VRA has at its core the intense motivation to help the society while creating and enhancing business value, and increasing power generation through diversity to support the development of the Ghanaian economy.
The VRA’s accomplishments have culminated in it being ranked among the top eight organizations for best CSR practice in Ghana. In 2020, the VRA was recognized as the CSR Company of the Year at the prestigious Ghana Energy Awards. The VRA was also conferred with the Best Company in Clean Water Provision Project, and the Best Company in Project Providing Sanitation Facilities in 2020 at the Sustainability and Social Investment Awards.
Resettlement Trust Fund
The VRA devotes substantial resources to the implementation of its CSR activities. This led to the setting up of the VRA Resettlement Trust Fund, in collaboration with the Government of Ghana, in 1995. The Trust Fund provides socio-economic interventions and economic empowerment solutions to 52 resettlement townships.
Every year, the VRA contributes the Cedi equivalent of Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($500,000.00) to support socio-economic projects such as the provision of educational, social, health and sanitation facilities; reliable and potable water supply; and enhanced livelihood options for the resettled communities.
In addition to the Trust Fund, the VRA has devoted resources to its CSR programmes intended to improve lives through the provision of education and health infrastructure, employment and entrepreneurial skills, among others. In 2003, the Community Relations Unit was set up to engender a co-operative relationship with the communities affected by the VRA’s operations and provide solutions to problems not tackled under the Trust Fund.
In 2012, the VRA launched the Community Development Programme (CDP) as a common platform for co-operation and partnership between the VRA and the communities impacted by its operations. The CDP aims to develop and implement social and economic activities in all the impacted communities in an effort to transform these communities into ‘opportunity communities.’
Thus the VRA mainstreams its CSR projects under four areas, namely health, education, social empowerment and environment. Subsequently, the Authority’s CSR activities will be discussed under these areas in this supplement.