Save the Date: Gems Africa 2021 Virtual Conference
The Ministry of Petroleum and Mining in collaboration with the Association of Women in Extractives in Kenya (AWEIK) seeks to bring together global stakeholders in the gemstone industry including governments, industry and artisanal miners themselves in a virtual conference that champions responsible sourcing of the gemstone and gold industries to underpin broad-based sustainable growth and socio-economic transformation.
The Gems Africa 2021 Virtual Conference will help reveal ASM’s contributions to development in Africa and propel meaningful dialogue that scales up the sector through encouraging partnerships and technological innovations. The conference will also highlight the role that women can play to foster peace where colored stones and gold are mined and harness support for the women who, against all odds, are mining in hardship areas. Kgjf.co.ke
Supporting Women Artisanal Small Scale Miners (WASMs)
Barriers to Women's Economic Empowerment in the Extractives Industry value chain.
AWEIK, through the support of Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), undertook a market study to better understand the dynamics faced by women within the extractives industry value and supply chain in Taita Taveta and Turkana Counties. Issues around financing, culture, legal, access to land rights remain key barriers to women economic empowerment in the Extractives Industry. The report also gives recommendations on how to mitigate these barriers to ensure effective participation of women in the Extractives Industry Value Chain in Kenya. Get the full market study report here
Some of the key issues highlighted in the report as barriers to women’s economic participation in the Extractives Industry Value chain
Supporting Artisanal and Small Scale Mining communities impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic The pandemic exposed systematic issues that limit women Artisanal Miners’ ability to drive any socio-economic development. Through World Bank’s Extractives Global Programmatic Support (EGPS), AWEIK is implementing a project geared towards supporting women Artisanal miners address challenges of COVID 19 and barriers to their participation in Kenya’s Mining sector. The project targeted women miners in Taita Taveta, Migori and Kakamega counties by building capacities in financial literacy and Sexual Gender Based Violence which were done with Invest in Africa and Action Aid respectively. 61 artisanal miners trained on how to comply with law, build their resilience as they conduct their activities though business formalization and improve book keeping that would result in attracting investors. Further, research to analyse the upstream value chain of Artisanal Gold Small Scale Miners in Kenya was conducted with preliminary findings indicating that;
The Artisanal and Small Scale Gold Mining (ASGM) sector in Kenya constitutes of different actors each playing very distinct roles along the gold value chain. Men take on roles in excavating given the nature of manual work for digging, lifting and other manual activities. A key finding is that none of women mining groups operate as dealers. They sell their ore to middle men (who pose as dealers) at mine sites or nearest trading centres who then sell the same to known licensed traders in towns.
The lack of a defined market also makes it difficult for women miners to differentiate whether they are selling to middle men, smugglers or money laundering individuals
That the risks and barriers of working women in ASGM involve cultural marginalisation and gendered work patterns, poor working environment and poor work support services for women miners.
A final report of the program will be shared.
AWEIK Annual General Meeting
As part of its constitutional requirements, AWEIK held its 2020 virtual Annual General meeting on 15th March, 2021. The term for Board members in the governing committee was extended for another year as the constitution allows. In addition, key updates on the Association’s various activities and programs were provided and key activities to be implemented including key signature training programs on Value Addition, Gemology, Financial literacy and Health and Safety. A mentorship program has also been initiated targeting students and young professionals in Oil, Gas, Mining and Energy sectors. Towards this end new student membership category was added to include students studying extractive related courses.
The Association has also establishment a Sustainability and Energy Transition Focus Group which will look into lobbying for sustainable exploitation and utilization of natural resources with focus on three sustainability pillars i.e. Environmental, Social and Governance aspects that affect the Oil & Gas and Mining sectors as well as unpacking key opportunities for businesses and investors around areas of Energy transition.
AWEIK is still committed to attaining its core values. Aweik.or.ke
Working with Mining Communities
The Association works with various mining communities through AWEIK chapters to facilitate the involvement of grassroot ASM women in mining development activities within their counties. It has key chapters in Taita Taveta, Kwale, Turkana, Kakamega and Migori. Other chapters in the process of establishment include Narok, Kwale, Kitui, Tharaka Nithi, West Pokot and Samburu chapters.
AWEIK was co-opted in drafting and reviewing the Kakamega County Gender Policy through the Gender sector working group and ensure that mining issues are addressed in the policy. Read more
Madini Sacco offers a savings platform for the ASM miners countrywide. The main aim of Madini Sacco will be to provide an opportunity for each of its members to improve their respective economic and social conditions through promotion of financial access through loans to small and medium-scale miners and dealers who cannot access credit facilities from commercial banks.. To become a member, write to us, [email protected]
Look out for key training programs coming up in the next quarter
Virtual Gemology courses
Gemstone Value Addition
Responsible Mining: Occupational safety, health and environment for Artisanal Small Scale Miners (OSHE)
AWEIK in the Spotlight
AWEIK as part of the Global 100 Inspirational Women in Mining
AWEIK is proud to have 3 of its members recognized by Women in Mining-UK as part of the Global 100 most inspirational women in Mining 2020. Congratulations are in Order for Dr. Melba Wasunna- Chairperson AWEIK and External Affairs Manager at Base Titanium, Miriam Kamau- AWEIK Board member and director at International Colored Gemstone Association and Elizabeth Kyalo- AWEIK Member and port and Shipping Manager at Base Titanium for their outstanding work in the Mining sector in Kenya and for being recognized for their exemplary efforts.
These women inspire other women in the Mining sector to reach greater heights through their dedication and commitment to changing lives in the Mining sector in Kenya and the world.
Disruption of the Gemstone Industry: Miriam Kamau plans to list African Gems on the Gembridge Platform
Miriam Kamau is one of Kenya’s leading women miners in Kenya. She serves on the AWEIK Board and has recently been appointed as a Director to the International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA)
Gemstone supply chain has been disrupted with the ongoing global pandemic, Covid 19. The Gemstone sector like other sectors has experienced devastating effects of the pandemic with mining operations being paused or stopped due to lockdowns and blocked trading routes.
Gemstone and jewellery dealers have been left with little or no way to source for gemstones. But, amidst the pandemic, there is an ongoing digital transformation of the Gemstone Industry; how to directly link gemstone suppliers with gemstone buyers in a responsible way to continue the Gemstone supply chain and keep the families depending on mining operations afloat.
New platforms have emerged to bridge this gap i.e. Virtu Gem that links buyers directly with the sellers through their online shopping platform. Gembridge has also become a key player in the listing of Gems; the online B2B market place dedicated to trading certified colored gemstones amongst a verified community of buyers and sellers.
Is this the new way to go for African Gems? A sustainable and responsible way to ensure the continuity of the Gemstone sector even in the face of a pandemic? To find out more, read the story of our very own board member, Miriam Kamau on how she plans to list African Gems to the Gembridge Platform and her story of humble beginnings to be designated Gembridge’s African ambassador. Read more here
AWEIK Making its Gender Agenda Heard
We are pleased to announce that AWEIK is now an official member of the Joint Working Group on the issues affecting the mineral industry at the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining. Hannah Wang’ombe, AWEIK CEO will represent the Association. The Working group was initiated to identify and resolve challenges affecting the growth of the minerals and mining industry in Kenya which ties to AWEIK’s mandate to play a role in advocacy for women’s rights in the Extractives sector.
Successfully Completed Programs
AWEIK successfully implemented the Maendeleo Sawa M-SAWA under the Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), and the Direct Aid Program by the Australian High Commission. The program was aimed at spurring economic growth, job creation, access to markets and financing by improving the business, environmental and gender performance of SME's in the extractive sector. The project areas were Taita Taveta and Turkana Counties with the scope covering women’s community-based organizations and self-help groups involved in artisanal and small-scale mining and women involved in the extractives value chain.
The Association appreciates the support given by both partners. Read more