Compiled by Joyce Nyamukunda-Machiri (PWYP-Zimbabwe
response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Zimbabwe introduced a 21-day lockdown which
started on the 30th of March. The lockdown has been extended twice
and is currently set to expire on the 17th of May 2020. Essential
services, industries including the mining industry are exempted from the
lockdown. Mining is a critical sector for domestic resource mobilization hence
the exemption from lockdowns. Missing in action is the monitoring eye by mining
communities and civil society organizations (CSOs). Like never before, COVID-19
pandemic has disrupted the traditional space for civil society. Work for many CSOs
in Zimbabwe has been affected. Activities of Publish What You Pay (PWYP)
Zimbabwe, comprised of CSOs and community-based organizations (CBOs) were not
sparred. Thus, the lockdown brought huge risks of derailing civil society’s
watchdog role in the governance of the extractives.
that PWYP might be missing in action, the
Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA), the current coordinator of PWYP coalition,
facilitated a zoom strategizing session for the members on how they can
effectively and creatively work on transparency and accountability issues in
the mining sector in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Strategizing and reorganizing
had to be done to remain relevant in the prevailing situation of the pandemic. Professor
Tumai Murombo from Wits University of South Africa was the guest speaker who
shared tips based on experiences on why and how organizations can adapt to and
thrive in challenging times like these. Further, the meeting explored on
mineral resource governance work in the context of COVID-19 to ensure PWYP
Campaign is not left behind on globally trending issues. The session also saw members
updating each other on their work.
How the PWYP members can effectively and creatively
work on transparency and accountability issues in the mining sector in light of
the COVID-19 pandemic
Individually, organizations must brainstorm and see how they can adapt and
remain relevant. This must also be done at the coalition level. Adaptation is
quite key with a constant analysis of the context to remain on top of the game.
- Staying connected:
Due to the pandemic, the coalition is not able to meet and contact can be
easily lost. Staying connected is important and being in contact as PWYP
members. Frequent checks and communication remains key. These coronavirus trying
times have brought stress, worry, anxiety among others. Just getting in touch
is an act of care that can help the coalition to remain connected. Social
support among the coalition members at such a time like this is very critical
as it is a time of great vulnerability for coalitions.
- Sharing information:
To remain relevant and become effective, it is highly recommended that the
coalition share information on the work being done by other members and find
areas of synergies and to gather support for collective action. Several organizations
are conducting activities online. The coalition has CBOs who are in the
grassroots, on one hand, some of the CBOs do not have access to information and
to avoid them to be left out, information must be shared amongst members. On
the other hand, the CBOs are based in the areas where mining operations are taking
place and can easily get to understand the mining activities in the time of the
lockdown. This information can be shared among the members and this helps the
coalition to remain effective and relevant.
Women in Law Southern
Soliciting information from other
countriesOffering access to justice for women
facing abuse, women with claim disputes and conflictsFiled and won a court case on access to
water during lockdown for Harare avenues area residents who have not received
water for quite a long timeTracking decentralization process for
COVID19 testing centers Producing situational reports with a
focus on women rights
Environmental Law Association (ZELA)
Situational reports on ASM and mining
sector issuesPartnered with Murowa diamond mining
company on a radio programme to raise awareness on COVID19 to mining
communities and artisanal miners in Zvishavane discussing the challenges
faced and how to address themDigital activism with community monitors
and miners producing blogs, tweets on the effects of the pandemic and the
situation on the groundFocusing on desktop researches on
mineral resource governance issues
Doing podcasts on mineral governance
issues. Using podcasts to have discussions with communities and various
stakeholders on COVID19, touching on transparency and accountability in
fighting the pandemicCapacity building on COVID19 to
communities using radio and TV.
Media campaign for mining communities to
build awareness on COVID19Developing a debt cancelation opinion
paper versus COVID19 response funding Rapid assessments of ongoing government
mitigatory response measures
Sustainability in Africa (INSAF)
Working and keeping in touch with mining
companies on fiscal systems Working on an economic model, rethinking
fiscal systems in terms of taxation Training of mining companies on
disclosure of taxWorking on a training for CSOs on tax
disclosure using the GRI standards.
- Keeping eyes open: The pandemic has had
everyone’s attention and focus. This is the time a number of different laws and
regulations from government and mining companies may be sneaked in. The
coalition must keep their eyes open and monitor all actions taking place and
not only have the focus on the pandemic.
- Maintaining a balance:
Most people are not used to working from home. Working remotely and coming back
home presents two different worlds which requires each its own attention. The
lockdowns brought in two different worlds together. To manage these two worlds,
there is need for members to strike a balance. Setting aside time for work and
time for family. Self-management skills must come at play. The tip is to work
from home without turning homes into a work ground.
Mineral resource governance program of work
important thing is for the coalition to remain alive to its mandate, why it was
formed. This keeps the coalition going. The time requires organizations to
think outside the box.
platforms of engagement must remain while incorporating all actors, nationally,
regionally and internationally.
information must be gathered, need to get in touch with the policy makers –
parliament and the private sector. Momentum built must not be lost. The
coalition must be proactive in engaging policy makers.
- It is the time to innovate on programming.
First understand the context of operation. Most people have dived into use of
technology. However, the problem made by many is to assume that everyone has access
to technology, resources and gadgets. Members must also acquit themselves with
technology for easier adaptation.
is important for organizations to engage with service providers and work on
packages suitable for their work. These include radios, TV, telecommunications
An outline PWYP members work in time of COVID.
PWYP must take lead on transparency and accountability issues in the mining
sector. Keeping engaged online, documenting work being done and sharing online.
Commitments were made to work jointly. INSAF is planning a training session for
the members on tax disclosure using the GRI standards. Action Aid offered the PWYP members space in
their podcast activities. Impact from the meeting is already showing, ZELA and
INSAF have already participated in the podcasts on government preparedness,
accountability and transparency in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
 The level 2 extension
was further extended indefinitely, with reviews scheduled at 2-week intervals
on the 16th of May 2020. Level 2 regulatory measures were maintained
but with some relaxations, for example, business trading hours were adjusted to
8 am-4.30pm; ZIMSEC examination classes and tertiary final year classes to be
allowed to continue under strict guidelines.