The piece “MAWIMA wants women issues addressed in Mines and Minerals Act” featured below was initially published in Malawi’s Mining Review Issue Number 26 2015 that is circulating this June 2015.
The full edition is available for download here. This monthly publication is edited by Marcel Chimwala.
MAWIMA wants women issues addressed in Mines and Minerals Act
By Chiku Jere
Malawi Women in Mining Association (MAWIMA) has called for inclusion of affirmative clauses in the new Mines and Minerals Act that would help address challenges that women in mining encounter.
The call was made by MAWIMA President, Mrs. Emma Adam, on the sidelines of the association’s three-day Annual General Meeting (AGM) held from April 27th to 29th 2015 at Sagecoa Golden Peacock Hotel in the Capital City, Lilongwe.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Mining Review, Mrs. Adam observed that the initial Mines and Minerals Draft Bill that was presented during the recently-held National Consultative Workshop had nothing tangible in terms of addressing issues that affect women in mining.
Mrs. Adam said that MAWIMA has since proposed some changes and suggested the addition of some clauses that would ensure that issues to do with women in mining as well as matters conforming to the ideal of women empowerment are addressed in this piece of legislation.
We are hopeful that the final law would take on board our proposals so that no one is left aside, particularly women and the youth, as the nation cannot afford to ignore these parties when it comes to issues of national development,
Turning to the AGM, the MAWIMA president said the holding of the event marked a new era on the part of Malawi women miners.
From this meeting, we want to come out more focused, united and reinforced in our efforts, so that we consolidate our position. We want to form a strong tool and coherent machinery for the advancement of women’s voice and interests in the sector,
The gathering was the first one since 2003 and Adam attributed MAWIMA members’ failure to meet for such a long period to lack of financial resources.
In her address to the gathering, Mrs. Adam noted that mining is one of the mainstream economic activities in Africa and women, who form a large chunk of the continent’s population, should not be pushed to the periphery, but incorporated at each and every stage.
She highlighted a number of challenges that women miners face including lack of readily available markets, capital deficiency, unavailability of proper mining machinery, difficulties in acquiring licences and raw deals offered by unscrupulous middlemen for their products.
Guest of honour at the event, the Second Lady Madam Mary Chilima, said the Government will help MAWIMA address the said challenges because it realises the importance of mainstreaming gender issues in all sectors of the economy.
The Government of His Excellency Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika recognises issues of gender equality as of prime importance to the growth and development of this country and MAWIMA is regarded as one of the catalysts to the increased involvement of women in mainstream economic activities that are in line with national priorities,
She also said Government is committed to uplift the welfare of women miners pointing out the adoption of the National Artisanal and Small Scale Mining Policy and the review of the Mines and Mineral Act as some of the significant steps that the government is taking to address all the hurdles that women in mining face.
Speaking at the same event, Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Honourable Patricia Kaliati said the gathering was a clear manifestation of collective commitment to gender equality and women’s economic advancement in Malawi.
Kaliati said that Malawi cannot afford to relent on its efforts to promote gender equality and the full realisation of women’s rights since this is necessary to achieve growth that is inclusive and sustainable.
We cannot leave women, who form over half of our population, outside of the job market, the economic sector and the political and decision making realm and say we are okay as a nation,
said Kaliati, promising to provide the necessary leadership role for women in mining through her ministry, as part of its mandate to strengthen the framework for gender equality in Malawi.
She also stressed the need for MAWIMA to collaborate with the One Village One Product (OVOP) which has programmes to provide artisanal miners with suitable value addition machinery that will help develop their trade.
The AGM brought together a cross-section of stakeholders including; legal experts, chiefs, government officials, civil society members, financial sector gurus, representatives from academia, the clergy, women and youth representatives.