FCA Quarterly - Q3 2022
In August, the FCA clocked its second year in operation. With the support of our partners, we made considerable progress in the 3rd quarter in our efforts to support the transformation of the artisanal cobalt sector in the DRC. We are proud of our achievements and excited and ready for what’s ahead of us.
We are happy to welcome our new country director, Steve Brewster, to lead the DRC team. With over two decades of experience, Steve has worked in civil society, integrated community-based development, institutional capacity building, and multi-sectoral development. He has led Save the Children, UNFPA, USAID projects and many more and is based in Kolwezi, where he will lead our staff’s on-the-ground activities.
Steve Brewster FCA Country Director
Achieving tangible impact in artisanal cobalt mining communities
During Q3 of 2022, our team was able to make progress, against our various workstreams.
Mine site expansion and legalisation support
The FCA signed an MoU with our partner mine site Coopérative Minière pour le Dévelopement Social (CMDS), further defining the core responsibilities of CMDS and the FCA to ensure an integrated approach to our goals of a safe and efficient workplace.
A first comprehensive planning session followed this to define timelines and responsibilities for different key future deliverables.
Our local team has worked with CMDS to develop a plan of approach regarding the legalisation and transformation of the Kamilombe site to achieve a recognised legal status. Together with the CMDS legal team, we have selected a law firm to support the process.
Enabling safe and dignified working conditions
Following the launch of the PPE Distribution project in April this year in partnership with the Women Washers Association and the CMDS mining cooperative at the Kamilombe mine site, an evaluation was carried out in July to gauge the impact of the project so far.
In consultation with the parties involved, part of the proposed changes due to hygiene concerns due to sharing the boots is the decision to reserve specific boots for daily renters and allow purchase at a lower price. As a result, 97 women in September purchased their wader boots, paying for the PPE in small instalments lasting one month. We previously published a blog providing more context as we launched the programme in July, available here.
At the end of August, we held the first OHS meeting to co-design the committee’s mandate, functions and requirements. Kamoto Copper Company (KCC) serves as the committee chair, SAEMAPE will be vice-chair, and the FCA will be the secretariat.
The committee reviewed the safety incidents at the CMDS site in 2022, evaluated their causes, and devised measures to mitigate their recurrence.
The operationalisation of the OHS committee is one of the measures of the FCA to standardise mine safety at the sites we partner with.
Mine investment plan
Following the mine investment plan for the Kamilombe mine site developed in partnership with an experienced mining engineer and professor at a mining university, we shared the final report with the FCA’s OHS Committee to inform them of our activities. The plan aims to serve as a basis for project-specific fundraising and to enable partners and members to invest in specific mine improvement projects.
Child labour remediation
As part of the continuous capacity building of our local partners, a refresher training course on Child Labour Remediation and data protection has been done for Maison Kwetu. Maison Kwetu opened a new bank account, and the remediation of the first three pilot cases officially started.
Headed up by Save the Children and the Centre, the FCA is looking to raise additional public funding to provide multi-year support for the child labour remediation system and the broader need to reduce child labour with a focus on extending the support to children in other site. With our partners, we have already committed to supporting 20 children by the end of June 2023 who will receive support until they attain 16 years of age.
Raising worker incomes
168 savings meetings have been organised this quarter between the 14 groups, the 350 participants have been able to save $16.909,5. As Q3 marked the start of the school year, a microcredit scheme put in place was able to fund 241 children to attend school. To ensure a continuous learning process, 70 people participated in the training of field agents on saving group methodology.
Saving groups members collecting and counting the meeting’s data. The saving groups are highly effective with a high amount of funds mobilised and (micro)loans credited
Transparent trading practices
From the very beginning, miners on the ground have expressed doubt regarding the accuracy of purity and weight measurements conducted by traders at Kamilombe, last quarter our team developed a strategy on how to improve trading practices at the mine site moving forward. Suggestions put forward will be tested in the coming months and, if successful, scaled across the mine site.
Creating an enabling environment
FCA governance & member engagement
After the inaugural session held at the start of April this year, we had an initial session of the advisory board on July 13. In this meeting, the board discussed the FCA strategy and specific topics such as legalisation and fundraising. Additionally, we held a member meeting at the end of July – a quarterly opportunity for the secretariat to provide an update on our progress.
Relevant blogs and publications
- Fair Cobalt Alliance Guest Blog | Aug 31| Developments in Supply Chain Traceability