A lack of mutual understanding and trust too often defines the relationship between civil society and private companies. Indeed, civil society organisations (CSO) struggle to find concrete action resulting from their reporting on environmental and social impacts observed on the ground. Seeing the powerful potential for change, Earthworm Foundation created a mechanism that helps to bridge this trust gap: Kumacaya.
Kumacaya has been designed to harness the skills and experiences of local people, to help assess how company commitments are being delivered on the ground. This process is paid for, but not controlled, by the collaborating companies. The reasoning behind this thought process stems from the simple fact that civil society groups already exist across all places touched by company supply chains and they understand local contexts better than outsiders. Part of our efforts towards increasing civil society’s potential to positively impact supply chains is to establish and promote constructive dialogue with the private sector. Going forward, Kumacaya envisions value chains where private and civil society organisations work together more closely and take action together in a proactive way. We know that improving this relationship can help unlock immense - and currently untapped - potential to protect and enhance peoples’ lives and their surrounding environment.
Kumacaya is an innovative mechanism that delivers truly independent monitoring and verification by local people. The process aggregates private sector investments that are then targeted at specific locations and topics, such as workers’ welfare. The funds are made available to qualifying local organisations that are already embedded in these communities. They are also invited to apply for funds.
Rules and procedures have been established within Kumacaya to govern the handling of funds, to ensure investor and civil society anonymity, and to enable successful and independent monitoring where needed. These ingredients are essential to bridging the trust gap and to deliver knowledge with the power for change.
Find out more at Kumacaya.org