What to be learned from thousands of artisanal and small miners through Xidata.io

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In spite of the security constraints, the lack of adequate road infrastructure and tools, artisanal mining is one of the sectors of economic activity that engages the greatest number of people in villages around the mining sites. The stakes are very crucial and XiData.io is aware of this.

Artisanal and small-scale mining sector is one of economic sectors that produce a large portion of the world’s minerals and gemstones and endure difficult, hazardous conditions.


But the bad working conditions of the latter, because of lack of information are exposed to many dangers including suffering from illnesses linked to the irradiation without knowing it. While the latter are not yet considered among those contributing to the bailout of the state fund, measuring their contribution to the local economy proves to be a real brainteaser.



What is artisanal and small-scale mining?

According to the web site www.miningfacts.org, artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) refers to informal mining activities with little use of technology or machinery. It is estimated that more than 90,000 people live in this sector in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  In some areas, this type of exploitation occurs in parallel with large-scale mining, which is a source of conflict.

Due to the lack of legal frameworks or unclear frameworks governing the sector, artisanal and small-scale mining sector is always taken as a bulky sector for large-scale exploitation, and its discrimination tends to push the national as well as the international community statistics which would make it possible to know well its contribution in the development of our societies and thus to project to the future. The ASM sector statistics seems to have little interest from both local and international community.



So what could we learn about ASM Data Collection?

Recently, CodeForCongo developed XiData.io;  an open data platform that collects, analyzes and share data from the artisanal and small scale mining sector which will be launched in this august 2017. XiData.io allows us to measure the contribution artisanal small-scare mining sector in the development of local communities.

XiData.io wants to take up the challenge of measuring the contribution of artisanal sector in the local economy; which is difficult work given the security and social contexts in eastern DR Congo.



New tools for data collection on the ground should be provided to the team responsible for collecting data from the various mining sites, in order to reach located or occupied by militia and rebel groups.

In that case, to better collect data quickly, XiData.io is obliged to use a system of data collection from different mining sites via mobile terminals whose agents will be equipped for more speed. For this purpose we intend to use the ODK Collect system which will be installed in each mobile terminal of the agent in the field so that the latter will send these data to the central server in record time.

Open Data Kit or ODK is a suite of tools for collecting data using Android mobile devices and submitting the same data to an online server, even without an Internet connection or mobile operator coverage at the time of the data collection.


After the data analyze process, so what kind of statistics to be showcased?

In order to measure the contribution of artisanal and small-scale mining, XiData.io proposes to compile statistical data for each mining site in the democratic republic of Congo in following points:

  1. io measures employment statistics disaggregated by province, mining site and gender,
  2. io measures local trade disaggregated by province of origin and commodity,
  3. It also measures the ASM contribution to the national revenue
  4. io will also use all these data to get an overview of the sector’s impact on the future and the completion of SDGs by 2030
  5. Etc.


XiData.io is part of the CodeForCongo initiative, whose mission is to promote the transparency of government action by providing the necessary tools to make it better understood by the people whose it is accountable.


What are CodeForCongo’s duties?


  • CodeForCongo build for and with citizens. Engaging citizens in our work is central to our theory of change. Strong democracies rely on trust between citizens and government, and we believe that organizing the public to actively participate in improving bureaucracy and service delivery is the most productive way to build sustainable change in the public sector. We also support government and civil society to develop the capacity to effectively collaborate with the public.


  • CodeForCongo improve government and civil society, not politics. CodeForCongo work focuses on opening and innovating the implementation of policy and the delivery of public services, through the administration and bureaucracy of governments and civil society. While we recognize the import of political reform and policy advocacy to the success of our work, we have purposely narrowed our focus to the areas where citizens are most likely to come into contact with government.


  • CodeForCongo operate in public. We promote openness in our work and in the work of our civil society/government partners. All of our digital tools are open source. We actively encourage documentation, sharing,


For more information about XiData.io, please contact the development team leader on xidata@congointhepicture.net




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