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Zutari receives international recognition for its public participation project on the N2 Wild Coast toll road

21st November 2023

     

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Leading consulting engineering and infrastructure advisory firm Zutari has received global recognition for its involvement in the N2 Wild Coast toll road development. It won the Member-at-Large Award in the Project of the Year Category and an Honourable Mention in the International Project of the Year category at the 2023 International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) Core Values Awards.

“Behind every successful infrastructure project is an effective stakeholder engagement strategy. This can begin as early as during the design and even concept phase,” highlights Amelia Visagie, Technical Director at Zutari. “Listening to stakeholders is crucial to any project’s success. It ensures that their interests are aligned with the project’s objectives, builds trust and collaboration, and ultimately leads to better outcomes for all involved.”

The South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL) appointed the Zutari Consortium to design and oversee the construction of the national route and associated access roads in Package 4 of the seven-package N2 Wild Coast Road development. The Zutari Consortium partnered with Africa!Ignite and Wild Coast Foods to implement the SANRAL Legacy Programme, focused on empowering communities near Package 4.

A community engagement process called Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) was adopted, which empowers communities to identify and develop their skills, knowledge, and talents. The approach focuses on community strengths and assets rather than on deficits and problems, stimulates active citizenship, promotes community accountability, and supports sustainable development.

Investing in proactive community engagement and development resulted in well-informed and committed stakeholders a broad buy-in and endorsement of both the N2 road construction project and the associated Legacy Programme.

The Zutari Consortium used the Spectrum of Engagement underwritten by IAP2. “We continually informed communities and actively consulted with stakeholders in ways that shaped and directed the Legacy Programme,” explains Visagie. Communities were directly involved in setting project priorities and identifying community assets.

“What is more important is that we collaborated with communities, working as a single team to prepare funding presentations and create business support (WowBiz) centres. Communities were empowered and will continue to be empowered through mentoring, training, and on-the-ground business support,” says Visagie.

Commenting on the successful project and its accolades, IAP2 International Federation Chair Rachel Fox stated in her citation: “This is a great example of how infrastructure projects can address deeper interests of communities and their leaders to develop more value for the investment. Those added values are building community capacity for engagement and meeting longer-term interests or capitalising on opportunities to address deeper community needs, in this case, economic opportunity. It shows what minding equity and relationships looks like beyond transactional engagement.”

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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