Is Kumacaya independent from the Earthworm Foundation?
Kumacaya is currently incubated within Earthworm Foundation which means they are providing initial start-up funding. Our objective is that Kumacaya will become a separate legal entity. We’re already functioning independently of Earthworm. We have a separate balance sheet, separate staff, anonymity is preserved within the Kumacaya team, and we do not disclose information to the Earthworm staff.
How is Kumacaya cost effective?
Auditors are expensive so the time they spend on an audit is generally very brief. We believe that better quality intelligence gathered over a longer period of time can be obtained affordably via cooperation with local actors. Kumacaya allows you to have local groups monitoring for a period of over six months. Each project is co-funded by a minimum of two companies depending on the country and supply chain, allowing cost-sharing.
How is Kumacaya truly independent, third party monitoring?
Auditors are generally paid for by the company being audited - by definition, this is conflictual. Kumacaya has designed its verification system to overcome these issues so that it can be truly independent. Rules and procedures have been established to govern the handling of funds and to ensure the anonymity of the funding company and monitoring civil society group. Throughout the monitoring process, the companies funding the projects are not revealed, nor are the local actors doing the work on the ground. All sides are contractually bound to this anonymity.
What does ‘democratised’ & ‘broad coverage’ mean?
Traditional audits send in auditors who, because of cost, spend very little time in the field. They visit only a sample of field locations, often chosen by the company under audit. As a result, they do not have enough time to cover a broad area and they cannot speak to very many people. Kumacaya instead processes signals, that allow us to hear directly from local people because we work through local civil society groups who spend a lot of time in the field, Kumacaya’s verification process provides a truly broad coverage.
At the same time, because we hear directly from the people affected by company operations with no filter between the communities and Kumacaya, we truly do democratise verification processes. With our signalling system, we hear directly from the ‘voters’, community members who can say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ for themselves, not via any third party, or otherwise.
‘Deep monitoring’...what does that mean?
Our deep monitoring with local civil society organisations gives due time and respect to the consultation process. We want to hear many voices over a broad area and over a sufficient period of time to get a truly deep understanding of what is going on. This gives Kumacaya, the company, the civil society organisations and the communities the best chance to share important nuances and to build trust in order to deal with any issues that might be shared.