On March 3 and 4, the Empowerment of Mining Women event was held in the municipality of Suárez – village la Turbina-, which was jointly organized by The Alliance for Responsible Mining, UNDP and Comunica, which included the participation of the GEF GOLD project: integrated management for the elimination of mercury in artisanal and small-scale mining, from the United Nations Development Program, UNDP.
Reflections on the role of women who practice mineral selection in Cauca and Antioquia, Colombia
More than 50 miners from five different municipalities participated in this space: Suárez, Buenos Aires, Guapi, Timbiquí and San Roque. In addition, important topics were addressed such as the work of women in mining, the association of women in the mining sector, the impact of mercury on women and their communities, among others; likewise, activities were carried out to strengthen knowledge and the recognition of their identities within the community.
Among the activities carried out, ARM led a social mapping exercise for each municipality in which the main risks of CRAFT were identified: passports to formal markets. On the other hand, UNDP facilitated an activity where women and men miners participated in the elaboration of drawings that reflected their reality in the face of the effects of mercury in their lives.
This space allowed women miners from Antioquia and Cauca to share their challenges, achievements, and progress around mining without the use of mercury. Likewise this space was also a stage for:
- Recognize the importance of the role played by women miners in society as a contribution to the country’s socioeconomic development.
- Know what is the process to form a women’s mining association, responsibilities, requirements and weaknesses of the existing ones.
- Advantages and benefits of the solidarity economy.
- How the business plan for a community plant can work.
For the last day of the meeting, ARM led a tour to the job site of the sorters of the Maravelez village and to the new Jhon Jairo Guerrero processing plant. After this field activity, a space for dialogue was provided to present conclusions and perceptions about the experience of the two days of the event.
“Comunica seeks that the process of rural entrepreneurship in mining that we are executing with the women of Providencia is sustainable, that is why we consider it relevant to carry out different activities that strengthen ties of female empowerment and contribute to sustainability in our line of technological alternatives. This is how the mining tour will allow them to know first-hand the victories and difficulties that women in Cauca have gone through in their certification processes”stated Melissa Correa, Coordinator of the Elimination of Mercury Use program of the Comunica project.
- This is the first meeting of empowerment of women miners held by the three organizations.
- 47 women miners participated from the municipalities of Suárez, Guapi, Buenos Aires and Timbiquí, Cauca; and the Providencia township, San Roque, Antioquia.
- The meeting also had the participation of SENA where an instructor and three interns shared experiences in building clean and responsible mining machinery.