Case Studies

These case studies illustrate how Alcoa is acting upon its commitment to sustainable development throughout the world. We are pleased with this progress, but look forward to achieving even more.

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Community meeting to discuss the watchmen program

The watchmen


GUINEA - 2008

Employment Program Brings Security to Guinea Communities


Employing local citizens to assist with security at a proposed refinery site in Guinea is, in turn, helping secure a sustainable future for not only these employees but their extended families and the communities in which they live.
Alcoa and its project partner Rio Tinto Alcan are studying the feasibility of building a refinery in the country’s Boké region, where people have few of the opportunities provided in the developed world. In addition, the region is suffering rural exodus, with young people leaving their communities to seek jobs in cities around the country.
To supplement the professional security guards from Entreprise Generale de Batiments (EGB) protecting the proposed site and the surrounding buffer zone, Alcoa and Rio Tinto Alcan asked the chiefs and elders of the five potentially affected communities to select—on a pro-rated basis based on population—40 people to serve as security watchmen and two chiefs to serve as their supervisors. The communities were given basic guidelines regarding job requirements and asked to implement a fair selection process.
“The watchmen program is very important to the life of our communities, and it has changed many things,” said Aly Bangoura, chief of Kabata. “The relationship between our communities has been reinforced. Since the program started, our children and communities are very respectful and listening to the chiefs more than in the past. We are also able to solve certain problems, such as feeding and clothing our families.”
The selected watchmen underwent two days of training on the project partners’ visions and values and the roles and responsibilities of a watchman. Each is paired with a professional security guard, providing administrative and other assistance as needed. The watchmen have no powers of arrest, and they do not carry any weapons. However, they are learning skills that may enable them to enter into the professional security field, which is one of the largest employers in Guinea.
“Being a watchman has had a positive impact on me,” said Sekou Mansare, who lives in Dougoula. “It allows me to be a salaried employee and to save some money. It allows me to be at the service of my community, and it gives me hope for a better future.”  
According to Chief Bangoura, “Since the installment of the security guards and the watchmen, our community has lived in peace since theft and unemployment are greatly reduced.”

Mamady Camara, assistant to the EGB supervisor on the project, adds, “Since the deployment of the community security guards in the project zone, everything is going nicely and we are not encountering any problems at all. We congratulate Alcoa and Rio Tinto Alcan for this initiative.”