By: Christophe Hanne – Sustainable Plans Leader Human Rights and Gender Strategy
ARM continues to work to build trust between the various stakeholders in the supply chains in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The commitment of its team in the Partnership for the Development of Eastern Congo (or Tujenge, which means in Swahili: “building together”), a project that seeks to strengthen the resilience of communities in the Ituri and North Kivu provinces of the DRC, has resulted in a proactive dialogue process that is now bearing fruits.
At the end of 2022, after having presented ARM’s ambitions for the Tujenge project to local authorities, and after conducting capacity building workshops on the Congolese mining code, Datastake (information management system), and the CRAFT code for nearly 150 people involved in the supply chains, ARM conducted assessments at different mining sites working in a mining cooperative. These actions provided transparency about ARM’s approaches, methodologies, and objectives and, above all, fostered miners’ confidence in ARM.
Thus, in December 2022, following the presentation of the results of the evaluation of the mining sites to the miners, ARM generated a space for construction and participation, which resulted in an improvement plan to move towards formalization. This plan considered the criteria of the CRAFT code, which considers environmental, social, and governance (ESG) challenges in their respective modules. Above all, it allowed the miners to design a roadmap to implement not only a commitment to responsible production and sale of their minerals, but also a process of legitimizing their activities in the territory and risk management in their operations.
One of the first actions prioritized was to formalize the cooperation agreement between the mining sites, the cooperative, and the Alliance for Responsible Mining. Thus, in February 2023, those stakeholders signed 5 agreements that will allow them to better define the roles and responsibilities of each party in the development of the project.
It is important to mention that in the Tujenge project, ARM works hand in hand with a local civil society organization so that the capacities generated in the territories are challenged, empowered, and maintained. Indeed, as Felwine Sarr says in his work Afrotopia: “[The African continent] needs to reappropriate its political spaces […] as well as its resources, and rethink its economies, its institutional forms, and reinsert them in their respective socio-cultures”
About the project
USAID’s Eastern Congo Development Partnership Program, Tujenge, made possible by the support of the American people through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is a five-year program targeting the city and territory of Beni (North Kivu) and the territory of Mambasa (Ituri) and implemented by Mercy Corps in consortium with International Alert, Wildlife Conservation Society, Alliance for Responsible Mining, International Peace Information Service, HIVE, Chambers’ Federation, APROHDIV, Justice Plus, SOFEPADI, CORACON, and Pole Institute, as well as local partners who will join the consortium.
The program works with a variety of stakeholders, including local authorities, communities, civil society organizations, community-based organizations, government actors, and the private sector, to achieve common goals for sustainable development and lasting peace.