iTSCi field staff have visited around 1,500 mine, processor and exporter sites this quarter, as well as facilitating discussion in stakeholder committees in four Central Africa countries. This work is a vital part of the iTSCi programme, observing first-hand exactly how the traceability and due diligence measures are being implemented and liaising directly to tackle issues and bring about improvement on the ground.

Field visits are made by staff from the iTSCi programme, sometimes jointly with government agents, who identify potential issues such as with security, corruption or lack of attention to traceability procedures, and then report them through the programme structure to all supply chain participants to ensure they are fully informed of risks and have the opportunity to engage in follow-up and resolution as necessary.

Expert field staff also closely follow production trends at mine sites, evaluating and reporting causes of any discrepancies or unusual trends in data that may indicate fraudulent activity.  This infrastructure provided by iTSCi also facilitates social projects coordinated by PACT and funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), successfully transforming the lives of local communities.

The visits link with a network of local and national community stakeholder steering committees which are organised as a result of iTSCi implementation and are a key element in the successful operation of the programme. Meetings are able to gather suggestions and help to bring agreement on how to resolve incidents effectively through dialogue and direct action. They also work with iTSCi teams to plan training and expansion programmes. Minutes from stakeholder meetings are now online here to add transparency to these activities.

At the same time meetings between senior staff and government ministers and agencies discuss and agree on higher level funding, training and enforcement issues.

Engagement at this intensity is a vital part of the iTSCi programme success in ensuring that challenging issues can be addressed efficiently and effectively in a realistic way. Data from the visits informs key improvement decisions, while at the same time providing members with confidence in information required for effective due diligence.