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ZELA & IMPACT choose to tackle engrained inequality in the mining sector

Research demonstrates that artisanal and small-scale mining is a crucial source of revenue for women and their families. As a means of survival in the hyper inflationary and unstable economic period, more women have found themselves joining the artisanal mining sector taking on roles from panning and processing, to trading goods and services. They rely on the income from this sector to support their households and dependents. Yet, at the most basic level—women’s diverse and active participation in the artisanal sector, and the gendered experience of artisanal mining, is often ignored.

To contribute towards the reduction of barriers faced by women in mining and support their efforts towards gender equality, Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) commissioned an assessment of two mining associations, Mberengwa Mining Development Trust (MMDT) and Zvishavane Women’s Mining Association (ZWMA). It is against this background that ZELA is in Mberengwa today (26 March 2021) conducting a training to help address the gaps identified during the assessment of the mining associations.

To provide capacity building and awareness raising to increase the economic benefits that women can derive from ASM, ZELA’s Finance Manager, Tarisai Munemo this morning managed to train the participants on finance management and record keeping. She highlighted that the project has identified gaps such as women being disadvantaged by their limited knowledge, skills, networks, or capital to make sound financial management decisions. Therefore, the project intends to see women in mining’s financial literacy, as well as management skills training improving for the better. This technical assistance will help remove obstacles, facilitating the integration of women into mining cooperatives and associations.

The IMPACT’s Digging for Equality Project Officer, Nobuhle Mabhikwa noted that artisanal mining has become a source of livelihood for both women and men. Despite the significant contribution of the sector to women’s economic empowerment, artisanal mining in Zimbabwe is unregulated. As a result, women in ASM find themselves vulnerable and risk being disenfranchised. Therefore, it is critical to ensure they be included in decision making while ensuring that they are part of the leadership processes. This will ensure that their security in the sector is improved, gender inequality is addressed, and women empowerment is augmented.

The mining associations argue that these trainings will go a long way in improving their status in the sector and have since called on the organisation to ensure that more trainings of this sort are undertaken. They argue that, although their positive impact in the mining sector has not been adequately profiled, their contribution cannot be overemphasized.

They also called on ZELA to continue strengthening the governance capacity so that they are able to close the gaps that were identified including failure by some members to adhere to the Constitution and other governance guidelines.

‘Digging for Equality’ project is undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada

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