In recent years, Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM) has become a thriving industry and a key source of livelihood across the African continent. Women in Africa, although largely unrecognized and unaccounted for play a critical role in artisanal and small-scale mining in the continent. The role of women in Artisanal and Small-scale Mining is important and they make up to 30 percent of the workforce in most mining regions. However, their participation is relegated to the periphery where undertake menial tasks such as washing, panning, crashing and sieving. In addition to that, women are the major service providers with goods and services such as vending foodstuffs and beverages, domestic cleaning services and selling phone credit among others
Women’s active participation in the mining sector is normally faced by multiple constraints such as social cultural norms that delegate the woman to the domestic sphere, inadequate access to financial services to fund and invest in their own mining projects as well as lack of education which causes to be passive participants in the mining industry and in decision making processes. Thus, it is becoming increasingly important to double up efforts towards understanding the role women play in the mining sector and more specifically their participation in Artisanal and Small-scale Mining and in addition to that, create a conducive environment to ensure their meaningful participation in ASM.
What is Capacity Building?
Capacity building for women is the process through which they can acquire, build on and employ necessary skills to enable them participate competently in the ASM sector. A popular African proverb says that “If you educate a woman, you educate a nation”. Women in ASM have the capacity and potential to transform the small-scale mining industry and bring about vast benefits for all. Capacity building for women in Artisanal and Small-scale Mining is a joint venture with all stakeholders in the mining industry including the governments and civil society organizations all in an effort to enhance women’s active participation and furthermore provide opportunities for their meaningful participation consequently leading to overall sustainable development for all.
These arrangements come at a cost. Any payment holiday will be noted on your credit record, which could have implications the next time you want to borrow money – you may, for example, be charged a higher interest rate. You will also be expected to pay back everything you have missed paying once you are no longer in financial difficulty. Your mortgage is likely to cost you significantly more in the long run.
Strategies for women’s capacity development include:
- Enhancing access to finances through the development of women-only banks, simplified procedures to apply for loans and tax incentives to decrease the risks associated with borrowing to their finance mining projects
- Enhance access to technology and necessary equipment through collaborative efforts between the government and key players in the mining industry and collectively provides equipment at subsidized prices or at no cost at all
- Employ the use of a needs-assessment approach in the formulation, development and implementation of sectoral policies thus ensuring that women’s views, needs and concerns are taken into account and resulting policies are fully beneficial
- Formation of associations through which women can access necessary information and which will enhance knowledge sharing thus enabling women to become literate and active participants in decision making processes
- Increase women’s access to land through issuance of joint land certificates, upholding their property rights and implementing land laws all of which are integral to their empowerment
In conclusion, the Artisanal and Small-scale Mining industry continues to expand thus necessitating the need to enhance women’s meaningful participation in the sector with the end goal being to amplify the achievement of sustainable livelihoods and development