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Ex-miners sensitise women in extractive industry in Neno

May 06, 2024 / Marcel Chimwala

The Ex-Miners Association of Malawi ([EMAM] has embarked on a project to enhance skills of women in extractive industry in Neno District.

The initiative is targeted at imparting skills and knowledge on the women on best practices in small-scale mining ventures in order to transform their livelihoods.

It is also meant to drill the women on fighting abusive transactions by some local and international buyers of minerals, who allegedly take advantage of rural women’s knowledge gaps to reap them off by buying their minerals at very low prices.

The project which is financially supported by The Southern Africa Trust, an international NGO, headquartered in the Republic of South Africa is dubbed ‘Her in the Mines Neno District Dialogue.’ 

“This is a shared purpose aimed at addressing the challenges faced by women in the extractive industry in Neno District, Malawi. Our dialogue is a collaborative effort between the Ex-Miners Association of Malawi (EMAM), the Malawi Women in Mining Association (MAWIMA), and the support of The Southern Africa Trust,” EMAM’s Program Manager Richard Tamva said in an interview.

He said some of the project’s goals are to remove barriers for women to have access to information and participate in decision-making processes related to mining investments; and challenges women in the extractive industries undergo.

“We also want to enable the voices of women to be heard through organizing dialogues on challenges facing women due to mining investments, including benefits, compensation, damage, or loss. Apart from that, we want to create awareness among communities in extractive areas of their constitutional rights, land rights, and mining legislation,” he said.

This, he said, comes at a time when the government has placed mining as one of the drivers of the national economy.

EMAM’s President John Dick stressed the need to fully involve women on mining issues considering that they play an important role in day to day life.

He said: “It is sad that some people within the mining industry chain are being subjected to abuses – be it on prices or land rights – hence we feel this project is vital to address that.”

“Historically, the extractive industry has been characterized by gender disparities, with men dominating the sector, leaving women with limited opportunities to participate and benefit from it.”

“Therefore, women have not equally benefited from extractive industries rather are the most negatively impacted.”

“Besides, mining has been associated with poverty, violent conflicts, water and air pollution, land dispossession, food insecurity, and the spread of occupational diseases such as silicosis and TB, and this is time to reverse the trend.”

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