Ghana and Tanzania are the second and fourth largest producers of gold in Africa. In Ghana, approximately half of the 250,000 people directly involved in artisanal and small-scale gold mines (ASG mines), are women, while in Tanzania, 25% of the estimated one million ASG miners are women.
Women working in ASG mines and surrounding communities face discrimination at multiple levels. Evidence indicates that men control and benefit from most resources – access to land for mining, incomes, credit, mining and household commodities – thus limiting women’s opportunities for economic and social development. The responsibility to have (and care for) children, limited access to health services and prevailing sociocultural norms further prevent women benefitting from mining and other economic activities.
Beyond the mines, women’s opportunities to engage in economic activity and improve their status are affected by their limited access to healthcare, contraception and SRHR education. Access to health facilities is low in areas around ASG mines and when present, an estimated 60% of facilities have inadequate capacity. A lack of contraception and SRHR knowledge means that women are unaware of family planning, resulting in early and repeated pregnancies and threatening women’s health and economic productivity. Furthermore, many women lack the knowledge and ability to maintain proper menstrual hygiene, which seriously impacts their health, wellbeing and economic activity.
Long-term objective of the ‘Going for Gold’ programme is to economically empower women in and around artisanal and small-scale gold mining communities in Ghana and Tanzania.
- Improved working conditions for women within gold mines.
a. Gold mines should operate according to fair mine practices in support of women’s rights and needs.
- Increased abilities to engage in economic activities for women in mining communities.
a. Improved SRHR for women in mining communities
b. More time available for women to spend on economic activities
Simavi will partner with Solidaridad and Healthy Entrepreneurs for the Going for Gold programme to improve the health and economic opportunities for women in mining communities. We join forces to offer a unique skillset of expertise, networks and methodologies that will ensure effective implementation of this programme.
Simavi will focus on working with the communities around the mines to ensure women’s improved sexual and reproductive health. We will engage men and communities to ensure that they are aware of and recognise the importance of gender equality.
Simavi will also empower groups of women and train communities to use social accountability mechanisms so that women can claim their rights and demand better services. To do this we will provide information and train health care providers on women-friendly services. Through the combination of these strategies we will ensure increased access to SRHR information, products and health services for women.
Finally, to remove the ‘double burden’ from working women, Simavi will facilitate groups of women to organise childcare facilities. We believe that these facilities, combined with improved health and gender equality, will increase the time that women can spend on economic activities.
This programme was still in inception phase in 2016. Start-up workshops and the official launch were held in Ghana and Tanzania. The first training on the EASE (Economic and Social Empowerment)* methodology has been conducted in both countries and the needs assessment finalised. The ToC has been adapted and baseline studies have started.
* The EASE (Economic And Social Empowerment) methodology uses a saving group process of three successive components to increase women’s economic and social empowerment.