By: Juan Perez, Project coordinator in West Africa

Since the pandemic of Covid-19, the economic resilience of mining communities in Burkina Faso has been strengthened with the implementation of several activities by the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM), with particular attention to women in their communities, and the inequality and violence vectors that affect them. 

Approaching issues such as sexual and gender-based violence, sexual and reproductive health, financial inclusion, associativity, or social cohesion, ARM contributes to strengthening the resilience of women who live the challenges of the ASM sector. They represent, at least, a third of the labor force, and around 45% of the country.

ARM carried out a gender diagnosis in 2021, as an initial part of this effort, where over 1000 people from 10 different artisanal mining sites participated, and that was recently published on DELVE, a platform of data or artisanal and small-scale mining, and an open data source on the ASM in Burkina Faso.

Based on the information provided by the mining communities with which ARM works on Sanu Kura, and EGPS 1 and 2 projects, the following challenges highlight:

Lack of awareness on gender-based violence

Violence against women is very little known, both for men and women. Attention focuses on rape and physical violence cases. This little awareness comes from, among other facts, a severe lack of access to information and the legal framework on gender and protection against gender-based violence in the country and mining sites. 

Segregation of gender-based economic activity and unequal access to mining resources

Despite interviewed people claim that no mining profession is prohibited for women, gender-based labor segregation is openly recognized. Therefore, women miners earn lower income levels. A symbolic behavior that proves this unequal access to resources is reflected on women's reluctance to describe labor conditions as dangerous, a prevention mechanism to not being excluded from the mine activities.  

The inability of the State to implement current regulations and protection

Lack of awareness and unequal access to economic resources in mining communities is part of a larger phenomenon of public incapacity to implement the legal framework and public policies that protect women from gender-based violence. The limited access to protection and compensation systems for women miners, the low supervision level of mining sites from the authorities, or the low functionality of conflict management committees evince this phenomenon.

ARM, trying to implement a gender perspective, intervenes directly to pursue the recognition of women miners, their empowerment for decision-making through associativity, on an income diversification that allows them more financial autonomy, and the awareness of their rights and violence vectors against these challenges that give account of the deep inequalities that affect them, and that may become systematic vectors of sexual, economic, institutional, and symbolic violence.

Our work in numbers (2021 - Nov. 2022)

women trained in financial inclusion

trained in sexual and reproductive health

women trained in personal development and empowerment

women trained in women's rights, prevention of discrimination, and gender-based violence

community savings and credit communities with the participation of 1186 women, and 173 men

men trained in Women's Rights, prevention of discrimination, and gender-based violence

At ARM, we are aware of the need to take further actions to contribute to the transformation of these inequality vectors, and we bet on the constant evolution of our approach, which, in the case of gender, must move from the implementation of a perspective on specific actions, to the transversalization of the approach and the application of intersectional views in all our work.

Get to know more about our gender-perspective projects in Burkina Faso:

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