10 DEC 2021

Operational Grievance Mechanism (SIKIKA)

1. Introduction

Kakuzi Plc’s Operational Grievance Mechanism (OGM) is a systematic, transparent, non-judicial process for receiving, investigating, and addressing company-related grievances from affected communities, workers, farmers who supply avocados through Kakuzi’s economic empowerment program, and other relevant stakeholders. In Kiswahili language Kakuzi’s OGM is called SIKIKA, meaning “to be heard”. In this document the terms ‘OGM’ and ‘SIKIKA’ are used interchangeably.

2. Objective and Approach

The overall objective of SIKIKA is to enhance Kakuzi’s existing processes to respect human rights, to provide access to remedy for those impacted by Kakuzi’s operations or business relationships and to strengthen relationships with all its stakeholders. The OGM’s approach is focused on identifying early resolution and remedy for grievances through a transparent process of fact finding and respectful dialogue aimed at mutually-agreed outcomes.

SIKIKA’s robust procedures are designed to provide all participating stakeholders a fair process and reasonable opportunities to present their case. Where a particular party may face certain risks or disadvantages vis-à-vis others, SIKIKA will provide appropriate safeguards and supports to ensure a fair and safe process for all (see section 10).

3. SIKIKA’s Two Components

SIKIKA consists of two separate components, each with its own procedure. Tier 1 is a company-managed process for grievances that concern impacts that may occur during the normal course of business operations that can best be handled and resolved by Kakuzi staff. Tier 1 consists of a Grievance Officer, (departmental) Investigation Officers and a Grievance Committee.

Tier 2 is an independent process for grievances that concern allegations of severe human rights impacts that have been caused by, contributed to, or are directly linked with Kakuzi and/or its business partners. Tier 2 consists of a Head of the Independent Human Rights Mechanism (IHRM) responsible for adjudication, a Legal-Administrative Assistant and  Independent Investigators.  

4. Governing Law and International Standards

The OGM is a non-judicial mechanism that operates under Kenyan law, in particular the Constitution of Kenya (2010) that has laid the foundation for corporate respect for human rights in Kenya. In addition, SIKIKA seeks to contribute to the wider dialogue about strengthening access to remedy as outlined in the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights in Kenya.

SIKIKA does not substitute for Kenyan State-based mechanisms but is complementary to such mechanisms. Therefore, SIKIKA will involve or refer grievances to State-based mechanisms in appropriate circumstances and considering relevant safeguards and support (see section 5.4). Moreover, at any point, complainants are free to present their grievances to relevant State-based mechanisms.

SIKIKA is aligned with international human rights standards, including the International Bill of Rights and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). More specifically, SIKIKA’s design is based on the OGM effectiveness criteria outlined in Principle 31 of the UNGPs, i.e. legitimacy, accessibility, predictability, equitability, transparency, rights-compatibility, a source of continuous learning, and engagement and dialogue.

5.  Definitions and Scope

A grievance is defined as a verbal or written complaint which:

  • Is related to the activities and impacts of Kakuzi and/or its business relationships;
    Refers to a specific incident, event, impact, or type of behavior in Kakuzi’s areas of operation; and
  • Is put forward by a specific individual, group of individuals or a representative acting on behalf of a specific individual or a group.
  • Anonymous grievances will be accepted. However, such grievances are by definition more difficult to investigate and will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis depending on the amount of information available to the (independent) investigators.
  • Feedback that is of a more general nature or requests for support are considered ‘issues’ or ‘requests’ rather than grievances and will be referred to Kakuzi’s community relations team for further follow-up. The terms ‘grievances’ and ‘complaints’ are used interchangeably in this document. 

SIKIKA’s overall scope is to address any grievance raised by affected stakeholders and their representatives, relating to adverse impacts that Kakuzi has allegedly caused, contributed to, or is directly linked to through its operations and business relationships.

5.1.  Scope of Tier 1

Grievances can be submitted to Tier 1 of SIKIKA if they relate to impacts that may occur during the normal course of business operations. Tier 1 grievances do not raise allegations of severe human rights impacts[1] and can be appropriately addressed by Kakuzi as part of its efforts to develop and maintain good relationships with affected stakeholders. Examples of Tier 1 grievances may include:

  • Grievances related to employment, e.g. irregularities in salary calculations or payment, contractual issues, complaints under the collective bargaining agreement, etc.
  • Grievances related to (non-severe) sexual harassment.
  • Grievances related to health & safety issues or (non-severe) work-place injuries.
  • Grievances related to company accommodation and/or living conditions.
  • Grievances related to environmental impacts, e.g. noise, dust, water run-off, pollution.
  • Other grievances related to minor adverse impacts resulting from business operations.

5.2.  Scope of Tier 2

Grievances can be directly submitted or referred to Tier 2 of SIKIKA (also known as the Independent Human Rights Mechanism, IHRM) if they relate to an allegation of a severe human rights impact (involving personal injury) that Kakuzi has caused, contributed to, or is directly linked to through its operations or business relationships. Examples of Tier 2 grievances may include:

  • Grievances that are associated with past or current impacts by public or private security actors in the Kakuzi area of operations, including:
    • Physical injuries caused by Kakuzi security employees or contractors.
    • Loss of life caused by Kakuzi security employees or contractors, or police contracted by Kakuzi.
    • Rape, sexual assault or other forms of sexual violence or severe sexual harassment committed by Kakuzi employees or contractors.
    • Forced eviction and/or destruction of permanent or temporary homes and personal property by Kakuzi employees or contractors.
  • Grievances related to sexual exploitation, such as ‘sex for work’, ‘sex for firewood’ as well as severe cases of sexual harassment that have been referred by Tier 1.
  • Grievances related to significant adverse health effects due to exposure to chemicals or the use of pesticides.
  • Other incidents that caused severe human rights impacts because of their scale, scope and irremediability of the harm to the complainant (as defined by the UNGPs).
  • Allegations of retaliatory action (in response to a submitted grievance) by Kakuzi or a member of its staff against other staff, workers, community members, human rights defenders or other stakeholders.

Operational Grievance Mechanism - SIKIKA

Your Views Matter to Us

Kakuzi wants to ensure that the SIKIKA process is transparent, legitimate and easily accessible to all stakeholders in or near its operations. SIKIKA is  based on engagement and dialogue, which means that Kakuzi is consulting all stakeholder groups in the OGM design and implementation to ensure the OGM is effective in providing access to remedy where needed.

For Tier 1 (Kakuzi-managed component of SIKIKA), please contact:

  • Ms. Stella Wangechi, Human Rights Manager, Kakuzi Plc.
    Kakuzi Plc, P. O. Box 24, Thika 01000, Murang’a County, Kenya
  • For information on Tier 1, e-mail:  swangechi@kakuzi.co.ke
  • For any grievances, e-mail: sikika@kakuzi.co.ke

For Tier 2 (independent component of SIKIKA), please contact:

  • Ms. Violet Mavisi, Head of the Independent Human Rights Grievance Mechanism (IHRM)
    Independent Human Rights Grievance Mechanism (IHRM), P.O. Box 6206, Thika 01000
  • For information on Tier 2, e-mail: head@sikikatwo.co.ke
  • Only for grievances on severe human rights impacts, e-mail: complaints@sikikatwo.co.ke 

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