Leaders in Ghana support new programme to empower women in mining

15 February 2017

Women living in and around artisanal and small-scale gold mines in Ghana will experience improved working conditions following the launch of the Going for Gold partnership programme. The Going for Gold programme aims to economically empower women in artisanal and small-scale gold mining communities in Ghana and Tanzania.

Solidaridad Regional Director Gyamfi launches Going for Gold partnership programme in West Africa.

The launch event

Speaking at the launch of the Going for Gold programme in Ghana, the Regional Director for Solidaridad West Africa, Isaac Gyamfi, said the programme is an important step for furthering Solidaridad’s strategic sustainability goals in the region for not only positively impacting the producers in Solidaridad programmes but also the communities where the production takes place. This new intervention will seek to improve working conditions for women within the mining communities in the Western region.

"Together with Simavi and Healthy Entrepreneurs, we will also be working closely with women in small-scale gold mining communities to improve their status and abilities to engage in economic activities, increase their knowledge about sexual and reproductive health and their legal rights. In a collaborative effort, we will create an environment in which communities, health workers, and authorities will recognize women's health rights," Gyamfi said.

Support from national leaders

Ghana’s Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Nii Osah Mills, pledged the government’s commitment to the proper development and management of the small-scale mining sector so as to harness its potential for national development.

He observed that small-scale mining has gained global significance because of its potential to contribute to sustainable livelihoods in countries with mineral resources, adding that the role of women must not be underestimated.

The minister noted that the role women play in the artisanal and small-scale mining sector is significant enough to warrant attention. “Government recognizes the need to assist women in operating in a technical, economic and environmentally sustainable manner," Nii Osah Mills said.

A representative of the Ghana’s Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Sabia Kpekata, noted that empowering women to participate fully in economic life across all sectors was essential to building stronger economies. She observed that there is potential for growth and prosperity when women are empowered and effectively involved in decision-making processes.

About the Going for Gold programme

Ghana is the second largest producer of gold in Africa. Approximately half of the 250,000 people directly involved in artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) in the country are women. Women working in ASGM and in surrounding communities face discrimination at multiple levels. The responsibility to have (and care for) children, limited access to health services and prevailing sociocultural norms prevent women benefitting from mining and other economic activities.

Women in mines are frequently paid less than men for the same work whilst facing severe health and safety risks. They undertake particularly arduous and hazardous work, including breaking and shifting rocks and using highly toxic mercury to extract gold. Mercury is especially dangerous for women of childbearing age and pregnant women. Going for Gold  is a five-year programme working towards economic empowerment of these women living in and around ASGM in the Western Region of Ghana.

The programme implementation in Ghana is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs under the Funding for Leadership Opportunities for Women (FLOW II). The long-term objective of the Going for Gold programme is to economically empower women in artisanal and small-scale gold mining communities in Ghana and Tanzania.

Specifically, it aims to:

  • Improve working conditions for women within gold mines.
  • Increase women’s abilities to engage in economic activities in mining communities.

The programme’s approach

Solidaridad will partner with Simavi and Healthy Entrepreneurs to achieve the objectives of the Going for Gold programme. Solidaridad will work with ASGM miners to achieve fair mining practices in support of women’s rights and needs. Simavi and Healthy Entrepreneurs will focus on working with gold communities to ensure women’s improved sexual and reproductive health and to create an environment in which communities, health workers, and authorities recognize women’s health rights. By working together, Solidaridad and its partners are confident that women in and around ASGM communities in Ghana will have improved opportunities for economic empowerment.

Related links:

Learn more about Solidaridad's global gold programme