As part of its work towards FSC certification, which it achieved in 2010, the logging company Congolaise Industrielle des Bois (CIB) supported a pioneering monitoring initiative. This involved members of the Mbendjele indigenous community in mapping forest data on hand-held computers attached to GPS. The initiative was a partnership between CIB, the Tropical Forest Trust and the Widlife Conservation Society (WCS).
CIB analysed the data collected by the community and used this to organise logging areas and guide negotiations with communities. This approach became a model for community-based mapping elsewhere in Africa.
Building on this experience, the EU- and DFID-funded Independent Observation of Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (OI_FLEG) programme supported a second phase of work during 2012-13. This aimed to further transfer expertise to civil society groups and strengthen their capacities to play a full part on the implementation of the Congolese Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) for Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT). Community members monitor resources using a platform designed to enable people with little or no literacy to use smartphones and tablets to collect, share, and analyse spatial data.