Already under threat from the economic shocks of the global crisis, protecting the health of ASM mining communities and stopping further disruption to their livelihoods is essential.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, ITSCI has leveraged its extensive field network and local expertise in Central Africa to engage artisanal miners and encourage local communities to follow the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.
In May 2020, ITSCI held 18 COVID awareness-raising sessions for 342 stakeholders including state agents, miners, cooperatives, state security forces and mineral traders in the Provinces of Tanganyika, Haut-Lomami, Maniema and South Kivu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). During due diligence and traceability training in various ITSCI sites, we conducted additional sessions on preventive measures against COVID such as social distancing, frequent hand-washing and other advice from health experts. ITSCI COVID leaflets were also distributed in Bukama territory. Our team on-the-ground has translated the guidelines into English, French, Swahili, Lingala, Kiluba, Kirundi and Kinyarwanda, as well as providing info-graphics. The ITSCI team encouraged cooperatives to share the leaflets with all individuals working in the mining sector, including the land chiefs and customary chiefs.
Ultimately, these efforts have supported the DRC government in their fight against COVID and aimed to enable even the smallest mine pits in implementing health and safety measures.