Wapichan villages publish monitoring data showing widespread illegal mining

Digital Democracy’s partners in Guyana, the Wapichan of the South Rupinuni, have published the results of their ongoing territorial monitoring, which show widespread evidence of illegal gold mining and poaching, amongst other illegal activities.

Our team has been working with the Wapichan for over 10 years to support their development of a mapping and monitoring system which village members can manage and publish themselves, reducing dependency on external organizations and giving them control over what, how and when the information is made public. Currently they are using a system combining data collection with ODK (OpenDataKit, an open-source android app) incorporated into a bespoke online map, visible on the Wapichan’s new website.

Ron James, a community mapper involved in the monitoring project explains:

By mapping the mining pollution sources we now understand how it affects wider river systems and water supplies that are essential to our villages for fishing, bathing and drinking. The headwaters of the Kwitaro, Kuyuwini and Takatu Rivers are under serious threat. We are bringing this monitoring information to the attention of the environmental and mining authorities, yet the problem continues unabated.

Read the Wapichan’s full press release and browse their online map. Are you interested in supporting the Wapichan efforts to defend their territory? Please get in touch with us at