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Raising a generation of women with a difference @ mining.#AMI 2019

Raising a generation of women with a difference @ mining.#AMI 2019
9th Mar 2019 sophtak

After watching the documentary for ASMining case studies from Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe on the first day of Alternative Mining Indaba that was held from 04-06 February 2019 in Capetown. Many people were moved with the inclusion of women in artisanal and small scale mining they wanted to know more about ASM ,how it connects with women and young people.

I was one of the people who featured in the documentary as a young woman in small scale mining.From the questions that were directed to me i realised that there are people who are really interested in mining ,who want to venture and help women and youth in ASMining but they don’t have information. I write this story to inform,inspire,and encourage everyone interested in ASMining

SMALL SCALE MINING

A small scale miner in my country is a person who extract minerals legally, operating with a mine certificate and several mining licences. She /He works independently with the help of employees, mining various types of minerals using her/his own resources.Uses simplified forms of exploration and also extraction of the minerals.A developed small scale miner can have machines for extraction of minerals and processing plants at their mines.

A woman miner sharing her mining experience

Why women

I personally believe the key to freedom for women lies first in women becoming financially free.

I ventured into mining because It is a sustainable business.l started as an artisanal miner doing mining as a source of income,on seeing the benefits my passion for mining grow and with the help from my colleagues and family i registered and become a small scale miner.Mining business is not easy to start it needs exploration, working capital,machinery, proper project management and time,but there is space in ASMining where one can always start small as long as focused, with a mission,financial support and technical knowledge they will succeed. I encourage other women to venture into mining to develop and become entrepreneurs because as a small scale miner one can also register and make it a company and have a future inheritance.

A small scale miner at her mine

In the past some jobs were on said to be for man only but now also women can do, (e.g mining ).Because of economic hardships women venture into believed male dominated Businesses to take care of their families.Women are responsible and disciplined business people (Almost 90% of children in the world are raised by women) If a woman is financially free she raises a community, then a community a nation. It’s high time that all women discover their strength and change the way they think especially young women in Africa ,and venture into mining and other sustainable business.Women were not created for marriage only but to give life.Our mothers were housewives not allowed to work but our fathers left them in poverty. At AMI 2019 One women from Nigeria said in her community women cultivated land and sell crops to take care of their children even when fathers are alive and working they sometimes forget their women in rural areas,the barrier for their development is most women don’t own land and are not included in decision and policy making since 1958 women from Nigeria have struggled to be heard.These problems are faced by African women in different countries .Mining is being done but its difficult for women to venture because of unfavourable policies,terms and lack of financial support , financial institutes need collateral to give business loans and women don’t have collateral. There is need to support women for development in our countries.Through educational programs,Business and leadership training workshops,Financial support and Exchange programs to raise a generation of women with a difference. Everyone need support to succeed in life. I also have been supported to do mining,to be able to stand up for myself and to be able to speak out .

AMI@10women side session

In the past women discrimination and abuse was never discussed, because of the said cultural values women were not included in decision making ,they get remarried without their concern and the children live in poverty and also those that are born of the new marriage ,the causes were land and inheritance didn’t belong to women. Now women have platforms to speak out but still its so hard to be heard . At AMI@10 women group sessions through dialogue we have realised that in our 26 African countries which were present ,in every country these challenges are still available today–women are not allowed to own land-are not included in decision making -child marriages and forced remarriage of women and inheritance rankle. The main cause of these challenges is women don’t have financial freedom they depend on man to survive.They take part in building the inheritance but at the end its all in the man’s name.At AMI women agreed that its time we take control of our financial futures ,work for development in our families and communities,educate others and stand up for ourselves and lead our young girls by example and reduce child marriages and women discrimination.

Young people need support to do mining and other businesses. They need to be educated to rethink about their destiny to avoid desperation and wrong decisions.For decisions that are made out of desperation are dangerous like the formula of using youth and sex appeal to get the attention and influence to survive worked well in our 20s and 30s but it is not the formula to get us wat we want in our 40s and 60s when we have children to take care of.My point is women must be prepared for what might happen in their life, i encourage women to tell themselves the truth about who or what they are depending upon for their financial future.ln my opinion African women must be supported to invest in mining and also venture in other businesses and industries to ensure a secure future for themselves and their children.

Investors come to Africa to do mining,they get profits and went back to develop their own countries. Our communities are left with nothing no schools or hospitals are built but rather they left our families in poverty and illness after looting away all the minerals employing our parents in the mines paying them insufficient salaries without pensions or compensation.At AMI2019 we realised that the majority of people in our communities are surviving through ASMining it is a livelihood. The sector operates in an environmental friendly and sustainable way.The environmental harm can be manageable than with big mines. I also have realised that ASM is not only in (Zimbabwe ) my country ,but it is a livelihood to many women and youths in Africa. Many have developed their homes, provide food for the family, raise and educate their children through ASMining, though with artisanal mining development is still low due to the illegal operations. Most of the countries at AMI cry out with 1 voice~~ “Artisanal mining must be formalised and create safe working space to benefit the mining communities”.

ARTISANAL MINING

Artisanal miner is an unregistered person who extract minerals without a license.ln my community they do panning in rivers or valleys.ln the forests they use gold detector to discover nuggets by scanning the ground or (reeping) .After discovering , buyers will come and buy from them.On gemstones they discover again but they also sell to the informal markets where there are no fixed prices but prices favourable to the buyer.This group of people contribute more to the world at large because they discover larger amounts of minerals and sell to the informal markets or agents of formal markets, most of the buyers are from abroad.This group of miners don’t benefit or develop through their minerals because they sell out of fear and desperation for they are not legal handlers of minerals if they are caught they will get a jail sentence. On knowing this illegal buyers will always take advantage of artisanal miners.

Artisanal women miners

Formalise artisanal mining for development.

Artisanal mining is a livelihood to mining communities in our developing countries.lf artisanal miners are formalised it will benefit the country because they will sell minerals to formal markets and also pay tax. They will also develop their homes and communities.lt will also create employment opportunities and reduce crime rates. It will also create safe working space for Women artisanal miners,who work in the forests or rivers with children on their back.Its a call to our governments, non governmental organizations and mining stakeholders to take into consideration these group of people for they are less privileged and the majority in many african countries.The mining industry is currently the one reviving the African countries economy.

In mining as a women i faced so many challenges at first because of lack of technical knowledge, discrimination ,my operations were poor and it leads to high stuff turnovers and low production everytime.Like every other business person i have had my share of ups and down.Through it all i have learnt so much and now im using my experiences to develop.my vision is to inspire other women through my work and development.My words to African women are

” Let’s stand up and start now.Start where you are,with what you have ,change start with you and me,lets speak out and find ways to help and empower other women in our communities, remember the journey of a thousand miles start with one step.”

(Job 28 v1-6″Surely there is a mine for silver, and a place for gold that they refine. Iron is taken out of the earth,and copper is smelted from the ore.As for the earth,out of it comes bread,but underneath it is turned up as by fire.I’ts stones are the place of sapphires,and it has dust of gold”).

Minerals and natural resources a boon for african women let’s support, inspire and develop the progression of women in the mining Sector.

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Raising a generation of women with a difference @ mining.#AMI 2019

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