Consultancy Call- Gender Based Violence in mining communities: Research on lived realities and experiences


Due date 01 February 2021

  1. Background

Extractivism affects the lives, bodies, and territories of women, in the promotion of mining projects. Most of the socio-environmental costs of the extractive industry are felt by the rural populations of extractive regions, however women are often disproportionately impacted. The presence of extractive projects is associated with the increase of gender violence, including phenomena such as commercial sex work and the restriction of women’s freedom due to the increase in cases of harassment and rape in the vicinity of extractive projects. Physical violence and sexual abuse are prominent in mining communities, and these are attributed to the absence of police and any other law enforcement agents. The increase in alcoholism and the use of drugs associated with the installation and expansion of extractive projects also has direct repercussions on the increase of gender, psychological and physical violence. Use of drugs has become a coping mechanism from poverty and this creates an ideal environment for violence to take place[1]. Many women and girls who are not directly involved in mining are sucked into sex work and some become victims of abuse perpetrated by men who take advantage of them. This contributes to high incidences of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases as well as well as increases in gender-based violence.

Over the past four decades, most countries around the world including Zimbabwe have signed or ratified international rights agreements that make specific reference to violence against women (VAW), for example the Declaration of Violence Against Women, 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, Maputo Protocol and SADC Gender Protocol. The ILO introduced a new Convention (C190) on Violence and Harassment in the workplace in 2019. Zimbabwe has not signed and ratified this Convention. This Convention is important as it broadens the definition of workplace to extend to informal sectors like ASM sites. The Convention also defines Gender Based Violence in the workplace and sexual harassment. This means acts of violence committed at mining sites are recognized as violence in the workplace. The machete gang violence is therefore violence in the workplace. Prevention and protection services should be provided to miners in their workplaces. Ratification of the Convention is an opportunity to challenge and end violence and harassment against women in ASM.

Reports of machete wielding terror gangs (popularly referred to as MaShurugwi or Mabhemba) using violence to gain access and control of gold deposits and ASM operations have been rampant in 2018-2021 in Zimbabwe. Researchers and mining sector analysts have attributed the rise in violence to the dangerous cocktail of unemployment, social exclusion, poverty, corruption, and gold smuggling. The presence of these gangs in mining areas went largely unnoticed until recently, when a spate of violence in the latter half of 2019 made them impossible to ignore. One particular reported incident was the brutal attack attributed to the ‘MaShurugwi’ which involved an 80 year old woman and her 16 year old relative, both of whom were gang-raped and murdered while three other family members, including minors were seriously injured.[2]Women in the sector bear the brunt of the violence targeting the mines, due to cultural beliefs of women’s weakness; they’re seen as soft targets for looting and are seen as a constant target for sexual abuse, whether direct, structural, or cultural. Some women are even forced to shut down their operations in addition to being robbed. It is against this background that a research is being proposed to document lived realities and experiences of mining communities of GBV. This research is part of the initiatives that will help address gender-based violence that has become prevalent within the extractive sector. This research is targeted at influencing decision makers and stakeholders to come up with interventions that will help in addressing the root cause to GBV in the extractive sector.

  • Main Objective of the Study

The main objective of the study is to document the lived realities and experiences of mining communities in as far as Gender Based Violence is concerned.

  • Specific Terms of Reference
  • To document the lived realities and experiences of mining communities on Gender Based Violence taking into consideration the different mining contexts in Zimbabwe.
    • To package the stories into vlogs bringing out the effects of GBV in the mining communities
    • Develop a position paper to influence policy and decision making on GBV in mining communities in Zimbabwe
    • Provide recommendations to government, companies and CSOs on addressing GBV in the mining sector.
  • Deliverables
  1. Produce a Research Report documenting the lived realities and experiences of mining communities on Gender Based Violence taking into consideration the different mining contexts in Zimbabwe.
  2. Produce vlogs bringing out the effects of GBV in the mining communities
  • Position paper on GBV in mining communities in Zimbabwe
  1. Presentation of research report to CSOs, policy makers, government, mining companies, and other relevant stakeholders for validation of findings.

5.0 Applicant requirements

The applicant must have the following:

  • A minimum qualification of a master’s degree in social sciences or relevant field
  • At least 5 years and above experience on extractive sector issues
  • Experience in identifying issues for policy advocacy / developing position papers.

6.0 To apply

Individuals/Consultancy companies with demonstrable experience of conducting similar work are encouraged to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) which should not be more than 5 pages. The EOI must detail applicant’s understanding of the TORs, cost application, a summary of applicant’s skills and experience relevant to in carrying out similar work or assignments, and applicant’s Curriculum Vitae, with names of three referees and their contact details (email and phone). Applications which do not contain meet the above documents will be regarded as incomplete and will not be considered. Applications must be addressed to by the 1st  of February 2022. The title of the consultancy should be clearly stated in the email subject and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

[1] Byford, 2002; Perks 2011.

[2] Women’s Media Centre, “Zimbabwe’s women miners left vulnerable to machete-wielding gangs” at

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