Project Overview


The County of Taita Taveta is the largest producer of gemstones in Kenya with artisanal and small-scale (ASM) mining accounting for 60% of the total production. Despite this, the county residents suffer from extreme poverty and are exposed to environmental, occupational health and safety risks arising from the mining activities in the region. This in turn affects negatively their social and economic well-being. Globally, ASM is one of the most dangerous and hazardous sectors facing enormous social, ecological, economic and governance challenges. Although various international policy interventions and industry practice have helped mostly large-scale mining embed sustainability into their practices, these have not really addressed the peculiar challenges in ASM in developing countries. The interventions are developed for miners rather than with miners.

Aim and Objectives

The Sustainable Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (SustASM) project supports the development of responsible and sustainable Artisanal and small-scale Gemstone mining and small-scale mining for social and economic development in Taita Taveta. The project adopts a novel arts based grassroots bottom-up research methodology, namely, Cultural Animation (CA), which puts the voice to miners and mining communities centre stage and promotes dialogue and cooperation with other ASM stakeholders to co-create a more responsible and inclusive ASM sector in Kenya.

Our objectives are to:


Use cultural animation to inform, challenge and change commonly held perceptions of, and attitudes towards, responsibility and sustainability of artisanal and small-scale among different ASM stakeholders with the objective of stimulating improved practices like the use of safety gadgets and improved mining methods, techniques and technologies.


Raise awareness and increase a better understanding of sustainability in artisanal and small-scale mining by miners, mining communities, policy makers, and other critical mining stakeholders.


Use CA to give voice and agency to artisanal and small-scale miners and mining communities and stakeholders to create their own sustainability narratives and lived experiences, and in turn empower them to engage actively in the governance of the local natural resources.


Create a multi-stakeholder dialogue forum that aims to build bridges among miners, mining communities and relevant mining stakeholders, and that forges a mechanism for actors to exchange ideas and best practices towards a more inclusive and responsible sector.


Influence the re-design of mining education by integrating sustainability across ASM mining curriculum; and therefore, contribute to developing a more sustainability-oriented ASM workforce.