Using CLA Approaches to Increase Responsible Gold from Congo
International policymakers, civil society, and end-users are increasingly aware of the role that minerals from the high-risk conflict zones in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) can play in benefitting armed groups, fueling conflict and human rights abuses and threatening the integrity of mineral supply chains. USAID/DRC is using a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) to co-create and co-design a scalable, sustainable, private sector-led model to break the link between armed groups and gold extracted in the insecure regions in the eastern DRC. In order to move the needle on conflict-free gold, the Mission did not settle for another 'follow-on' project. Open to new-thinking, the Mission tested their long-standing theories of change and promoting internal USAID learning. From the beginning of the design process, they used a highly collaborative CLA approach, engaging both internal and external stakeholders to drive innovation and improve cross-cutting integration.
In April 2018, USAID/DRC led a co-creation workshop in Kinshasa which brought together over 70 participants to tackle this complex challenge. Participants came from a diverse set of backgrounds, including the private sector, civil society, U.S. and other donor nations, the DRC government as well as independent consultants. Workshop participants shared insights on a diverse range of issues impacting the artisanal gold trade including mineral traceability and smuggling, armed groups, large-scale industrial mining, and mining cooperatives. The BAA had a positive impact on USAID/DRC and helped change the Mission's overall CLA culture and approach. As a result, the Mission is confident that it will be able to roll out a more innovative responsible sourcing program, increasing exports of clean gold, improving livelihoods for miners, and with a feasible glide-path to reduce and potentially end the U.S. Government's high financial burden to the sector. Other USAID/DRC technical teams are now quickly adopting this collaborative CLA approach through co-creation to drive increased development impact in other sectors throughout the Mission's portfolio.