Model for e mp owering women Artisanal Miners i n Kenya: A case study of Taita Taveta County
Internationally there has been significant progress in promoting women’s participation in extractive industry. Despite relentless efforts to empower women in the sector gaps still exists in mining characterized by policies and regulations in the last century that denied women opportunities as men. Such laws don’t exist but their effects and attitudes that inspired them are still felt by considering women as intruders in a male dominated environment making them subjected into scrutiny dimming their prospects of upward mobility in the workplace in a number of ways; mining tools, equipment’s and facilities not designed with them in mind; unfavorable cultural beliefs and traditions; and rampant gender based violence. Undeterred by facing engrained gender barriers, women are important participants in the economic activity surrounding artisanal and small-scale mining and some are forging new economic pathways. The objective of this study is to develop model for empowering women artisanal and small-scale miners in Kenya. Mixed-method approach will be used to explore gender dynamics in Taita Taveta Women Mining Group in Mkuki Mines using; participant observation, focus group interviews, survey on life histories, examination of mine related livelihoods and ancillary services that support mine sites. Findings of the study highlights various drawbacks to women miners; Land ownership, Mining Permits and licenses, Finances, Education and Skills, Institutional support and collaborations, and equipment and technology. The proposed model outlines insights by mitigating the various drawbacks facing women miners as illustrated here in to ensure sustainable women mining to optimize profitability, more so empower women in the sector. This can be achieved by among other things; putting in place a vibrant women miners fund for affordable and readily available finances for easy operationalization of the mine sites; partnership with national environmental management authority, women environmentalist champions for sustainable mining through thorough environmental impact assessment with their respective mitigations measures and comprehensive rehabilitations plans from onset and ensuring conformity; partnership with Vocational and institutions of higher learning for capacity building. Findings of this study is useful to petroleum and mining, land and physical planning, public service, youth and gender ministries, civil society organisations, regional and international inter- governmental organisations, donors, agencies working to empower the women miners and will add to database of knowledge for future research. In conclusion the women miners empowerment is essential to ensure that the benefits of the sector are shared widely by society.