Issues and Challenges
The nature of ASM has both positive and negative impacts on the social development of miners and the mining communities. Many unskilled individuals in the local community including women go into mining as an important source of their livelihoods. The mining income improves education standards (SDG4), the health and well-being (SDG3) of miners and their dependents, and significantly improves the socio-economic welfare of women (SDG5) and other disadvantaged members of the society.
A large cross-section of miners and wage laborers have no formal education. They also possess limited technical, marketing, management or financial skills and competencies. The lack basic personal protective and broadly the poor occupational health and safety practices in the sector expose miners to health risks.
The socio-economic development in Taita Taveta is evident in the growth in the last decade of mining towns such as Mwatate and Kasigau. Unfortunately, the growth has come with unintended consequences such as the increase in prostitution and alcohol trade. Marriage breakups, caused by absence of husbands from their families for long periods of time, are some of the social ills reported. Gemstone mining has also led to an influx of new people (i.e. investors, traders, workers) into the county, and this is contributing to an increase in real estate prices to the disadvantage of the poor members in the mining community.
The mines are also located in remove areas with harsh mining conditions and the women are more susceptible to sexual harassment and attacks. Women lack the means of production due to the patriarchal culture which denies them the rights to decision-making and land ownership. Nonetheless, although women have limited knowledge of enterprise development and access to large start-up capital from financial institutions, they are using their ingenuity and investing in the sector as mine concession owners.
Key Thematic Clusters and Actions
Health and Well-being
Gender mainstreaming in ASM
International Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, Nottingham University Business School, Jubilee Campus, Wollaton Road, Nottingham NG8 1BB