The Digging for Equality project starts
activities in Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, and Zimbabwe ahead of International
March 8, 2021—Bukavu/Harare/Kampala/Ottawa
IMPACT is partnering with Zimbabwe
Environmental Law Association (ZELA) and Réseau
d’Innovation Organisationnelle (RIO) to mark International Women’s Day
with a new project to support gender equality in the artisanal mining sectors
of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Uganda, and Zimbabwe.
The Digging for Equality project will
support women working in the artisanal mining sector in the three countries to
reduce barriers they face and support their efforts towards gender equality.
research has shown women lack the access and
skills to perform more remunerated and status enhancing tasks in mine sites,
which would increase their participation in decision making and leadership
roles. The project will build the capacity of local mining organizations and
their members to improve economic benefits for women in the sector. The project
will also promote women’s leadership at the mine site and community by
supporting artisanal mining associations and cooperative to adopt more inclusive
The Digging for Equality project will support
the following local mining associations:
- In DRC: Association de lutte
contre l’exploitation des femmes et enfants des mines (ALEFEM) based
in South Kivu’s Mwenga Territory
Uganda: Mubende Women Gold Miners Association
(MUWOGOMA) and Mubende United Miners Assembly (MUMA) in
- In Zimbabwe: Mberengwa
Mining Development Trust (MMDT) and Zvishavane Women’s Mining Association
(ZWMA) in Midlands Province
“Our research in DRC has shown that women play
essential roles in artisanal mining, and yet they are often tasked with the lowest paying
jobs at the mine site. The rely on income from artisanal mining to meet the
needs of their households: pay for food, medical care, schooling, clothing, and
in some cases, housing. This project offers women an important opportunity to
strengthen their skills and access better paying roles at the mine sites,
despite discriminatory practices and customs that weigh against them,” said Odile Bulabula, RIO Coordinator.
“Artisanal mining is an important source
of income for women and men across Zimbabwe and the government has made many
steps towards formalizing and professionalizing the sector. However, we have to
ensure women miners are included in these decision making processes and are
part of the leadership in mining communities. This project is an important step
forward in ensuring women’s voices are heard,” said Nobuhle
Mabhikwa, ZELA’s Project Officer.
At the local, provincial, and national
levels, the Digging for Equality project will promote a legal and regulatory
context to enhance women’s security, gender equality and their participation in
the sector. Using IMPACT’s Toolkit: Gender Impact Assessments for Projects and
Policies Relates to Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining, policymakers across the
three countries will be supported to reflect and act to ensure the laws,
policies, and regulations affecting the ASM sector improve gender equality.
“Through this project, we have the
opportunity to continue IMPACT’s work with policymakers in DRC and Uganda to
analyze how policies and practices can be improved to support women’s
empowerment in the artisanal mining sector. We’re excited to start this work in
Zimbabwe to ensure women artisanal miners are part of decision making
processes,” said Joanne Lebert, IMPACT’s Executive Director.
“RIO and ZELA both have decades of
experience promoting improved practices in the artisanal mining sectors in DRC
and Zimbabwe respectively. We have long-standing partnerships with both
organizations and are confident that our collaboration together will have a
meaningful impact on women’s livelihoods in the sector,” added Joanne Lebert,
IMPACT’s Executive Director.
The Digging for Equality
project is undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada
provided through Global Affairs Canada.
Read more about the Digging for Equality project here: https://bit.ly/3rjMMiX