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Highlight: Canadian, African researchers collaborate on study of women's roles in Africa's artisanal and small-scale mining


Five days, 50 plus researchers, 10 interpreters, 5 languages, many days of travel, and one hotel.These were the basic ingredients of a research training and networking event on women’s livelihoods and empowerment challenges in the artisanal and small mining (ASM) sector in Africa. 

The event, held in Kampala, Uganda, in July 2015, was organized by Carleton University's Institute of African Studies, Partnership Africa Canada, and the Kampala-based Development Research and Social Policy Analysis Center. Supported by Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women (GrOW), a $17 million, 5-year program funded by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the UK Department for International Development, and IDRC, these three organizations are working on a research project exploring women's experiences in artisanal and small-scale mining in Central and East Africa.  

The project aims to study women’s livelihood strategies in artisanal mining of gold, tin, tantalum, and tungsten in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda. Using a mixed-methods approach, including surveys and life histories, researchers seek a deeper understanding of women’s roles in mining. The research generated will provide much needed data on women and mining at a time when ASM is attracting increased attention by policymakers interested in improving the sector's financial viability. 

The event had two concrete outputs:

  • Researchers held discussions with 12 representatives from mining communities from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda. This knowledge exchange will undoubtedly enrich the research instruments developed.  
  • Research teams also had the opportunity to connect with one another and begin developing a network around gender and artisanal and small-scale mining in Africa. In an effort to boost dialogue, the project developed a website and a Facebook page titled, Gender and Mining in Africa. 

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