Improve the Economic & Social Position of Women in Gold Mines

In Ghana, approximately half of the 1 million people directly involved in artisanal and small-scale gold mining, are women. In Tanzania, this statistic is close to 25%. To improve the economic and social position of women within these communities, Solidaridad, in collaboration with Simavi, and Healthy Entrepreneurs launched The Golden Line Project. In this post, we take a look at the role of sensitization workshops to drive change.

Empowering Women in Artisanal & Small-scale Gold Mines 

The programme works towards improving the working and living conditions of women in gold mining communities. Women are supported to engage in economic activities and increase their access to and control over resources. ​Simultaneously, miners are supported to apply best practices in the mines and produce responsibly with respect for women's needs and rights. As part of these activities, Solidaridad has led sensitization workshops ​for miners ​to promote gender inclusive policies​ within the mines.

According to statistics released by the mining industry in Tanzania, gold revenues for small scale miners have increased from 53,167 euros in the 2016/17 financial year, to 107,069 euros in the 2017/18 financial year. Solidaridad's Golden Line Project in Geita – Tanzania has committed to invest two million euros in the empowerment of over 105, 000 small scale female miners in the region.

Gold Line Sensitization Workshops

Speaking at a recent sensitization workshop in Geita Tanzania, Ms. Winifrida Kanwa , the Solidaridad East and Central Africa Golden Line project coordinator, outlined high levels of harassment, discrimination, and misconceptions of women’s participation in gold-mining. She added that misconceptions can only be eliminated through active sensitization campaigns, and the adoption of gender inclusive policies that encourage the equal participation of women.

Providing Women with Equal Opportunities

During this workshop mine owner Mr. John Maganga noted that through Solidaridad’s interventions, he has realized the importance of providing women with equal opportunities to work.  As a result, he has implemented a no-discriminatory policy for the mine and is making sure that women miners are participating in responsible mining trainings. Through sensitization workshops to all mine workers, Solidaridad is supporting mine owners such as Mr. Maganga to implement best practices in the mines, while taking the needs of women miners into account.

Modern Mining Techniques & Environmental Conservation Principles

Golden Line project officer Ms. Rachel Julius commented on the unwillingness of financial institutions to extend credit to small scale miners. She noted that this causes women to operate in harsh conditions where they use un-mechanized techniques. "Many entrepreneurial women are unable to invest in the mining industry for reasons ranging from limited education, demanding family responsibilities, lack of financial and infrastructural resources, and prevailing cultural beliefs", says Julius. 

Solidaridad is committed to empowering women economically and to identify available opportunities for them within the mining sector. This includes promotion of modern mining techniques, adoption of environmental conservation principles in extraction activities, and working with financial institutions to adapt credit models for small scale and artisanal mines. 

Business Skills Training for 5,000 Small-scale Miners 

Solidaridad is planning to train 5,000 small-scale miners in responsible mining practices, and take them through a series of business skills trainings. Our ultimate goal is to have women firmly located as proactive agents within the legitimate mainstream mining sector for sustainable benefits to individuals, communities and the country at large.

Learn more about our gold programme here.