First annual meeting of the newly established Kufatilia network
In November 2023, IPIS’ Kufatilia partners traveled to Bunia and Bukavu in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to attend the first annual meeting of the newly established Kufatilia network. Consisting of two separate conferences in Ituri and South Kivu, the meeting brought together twenty-two partnered Congolese civil society organizations (CSOs) from Ituri, Haut-Uélé, Lualaba, and the two Kivus. Building on five years of expansion and coordination, the meeting provided an important forum for IPIS and partnered CSOs to take stock of the project’s progress and future.
In operation since 2018, Kufatilia is a ground-based incident reporting system launched by IPIS and Congolese civil society partners across the eastern DRC. It seeks to provide artisanal miners the means with which to quickly and efficiently report a variety of incidents related to the artisanal and small-scale mining sector. Through a simple SMS system linked to designated Kufatilia phone numbers, miners can specify the type of incident they wish to report. These messages are received by local CSOs partnered with Kufatilia, who are then responsible for following up on the incidents. About 1,000 such reports have been received by Kufatilia in 2023.
The organization of a first annual meeting is part of a push to grow Kufatilia from an incident-reporting tool, into a dynamic network of CSOs working on resolving individual incidents, and – increasingly – involving other stakeholders and trying to prevent incidents from being repeated. As Kufatilia has grown in scope, a more centralized and efficient structure for the project will be critical moving forward. This newly created network will allow CSOs and other stakeholders to draw on one another’s expertise in tackling incident resolution, while also facilitating more coordinated approaches vis-a-vis raising awareness for the program, organization, communications, and efforts at lobbying for civil society at the provincial and even national level.
New platform to follow up on incidents
While the annual meetings will provide a space to facilitate interaction, discussion, and learning on Kufatilia between partnered CSOs, the Kufatilia network will also be centered around a newly developed incident-follow-up platform. The internal platform, which can be accessed digitally by members, seeks to achieve two objectives. The first is to provide a tool with which CSOs can better pool, filter, correct, analyze and monitor incoming incident data. By providing a clear oversight of mining-related incidents across the region, the platform will allow partnered CSOs to collaborate, aid one another, and not solely focus on their own respective areas of operation. The second objective of the new platform is to enable a more efficient and specialized approach to follow-up on incidents. This is because the platform’s oversight facilitates informed action when incident data is forwarded to a partner organization with expertise in the specific context or content.
Looking forward, Kufatilia will continue to provide a clear and actionable tool and database for incident-reporting and follow-up within the Congolese ASM sector, pushing for a solid network of CSOs as its foundation. This first annual meeting was a key step in pushing the envelope forward. A fitting conclusion to an important year, and a good introduction to the next.
Made possible by the European Union, the Belgian Directorate-General for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid (DGD), the American people through the USAID’s Partnership for the Development of Eastern Congo (P-DEC), and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs within the framework of the Madini kwa Amani na Maendeleo (Madini) project.