Quadria Muslim Association of Malawi working to promote citizen participation in mining issues

lilongwe-mosque

Area 2, Lilongwe (Courtesy of Malawi Live)

Last week, community leaders in Balaka and Mangochi were sensitised by the Quadria Muslim Association of Malawi (QMAM) about the MWK 38 million project aimed to promote citizen participation in mining issues and to address challenges people face in mining areas.

Executive Director of QMAM Saiti Jambo explained the importance of this project.

There is an information gap among the people on the mining sector. Communities are not directly involved and this results in many people’s rights being violated.

In areas where mining takes place, a lot of hazardous things happen and people’s rights are violated but since they don’t actively participate in mining isues the end result is that they don’t know where to report and they suffer in silence.

Our focus is on areas where there is mining and where mining exploration is taking place. Therefore, in Mangochi we are in traditional authorities Mponda, Bwananyambi and Makanjira.

The project is being funded by Tilitonse, which is a grant-making facility for Malawian-based civil society organisations that is jointly funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), Royal Norwegian Embassy and Irish Aid. In November, Tilitonse awarded over £1 million to the following three projects:

  • ActionAid is leading the project “Responsive Mining Governance for Equitable and Sustainable Development of Malawi” with Citizens for Justice
  • The Centre for Environmental Policy and Advocacy is leading “Strengthening Mining Governance in Malawi” with the Natural Resources Justice Network
  • Norwegian Church Aid is leading “Tonse Tipindule – Promoting Increased Inclusions, Accountability, and Responsiveness in Malawi’s Mining Sector” with  CCJP National, Livingstonia Synod Church and Society, Quadria Muslim Association of Malawi, Evangelical Association of Malawi, Malawi Council of Churches

As the mining sector grows and corruption becomes more prevalent – at least according to Transparency International’s recently published Corruption Perceptions Index 2013, the participation of civil society organisations is increasing.

On Friday last week (20 December 2013), one day after the launch of a Tax Justice Campaign, ActionAid and the Malawi Economic Justice Network released a report on Malawi’s taxation system and its implications for the poor. As usual, the report draws on the example of Malawi’s largest mine Kayelekera Uranium Mine and the tax incentives given to Paladin Africa, a subsidiary of Australian-listed Paladin Energy, which is the company operating the mine.

This week, Park Mhonda, Project Officer for Tonse Tipindule (Livingstonia Synod Church and Society), called on government to devolve the Ministry of Mining to improve access to information for communities affected by mining.

Communities surrounding the mining sites are failing to understand issues of environmental impact and compensation as there is no office at district level where they can access information pertaining to mineral exploration and benefits.

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