54 Village Savings and Loans Associations established as part of Foundations for Peace project to support objective of responsible artisanal gold trade

January 27, 2023—Ouagadougou/Ottawa

IMPACT and the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) brought the country’s mining policymakers, supply chain actors, Embassy of Canada representatives, and other technical and financial partners together today to review the results of the Foundations for Peace project which supports financial inclusion and peacebuilding in Burkina Faso’s artisanal gold mining communities.

The Foundations for Peace in the Artisanal Gold Mining in Burkina Faso project began activities in 2021 and aims to support a more responsible artisanal gold sector in the country, while increasing security in mining communities.

Today’s workshop in Burkina Faso’s capital city, Ouagadougou, shares first-hand accounts from artisanal miners and community members who are participating in the project, shares findings and results, as well as provides an opportunity to review key lessons and recommendations on next steps towards legal trade in the country’s artisanal gold sector. Participants in the workshop include representatives from the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Quarries, supply chain actors, civil society, private sector representatives, as well as technical and financial partners.

“After two years implementing the Foundations for Peace project in Burkina Faso, we are pleased to bring our partners together to share the success we’ve had in working together with artisanal gold communities, and discuss the next steps to create a more responsible gold sector in the country,” said Joanne Lebert, IMPACT’s Executive Director.

The Foundations for Peace project supported five artisanal gold mining communities in Centre-Ouest and Centre-Nord regions to establish Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs). In VSLAs, members meet regularly over one year to invest their money and loan their growing funds to group members. The interest paid on loans goes back into the communal pot so group members see their savings increase over time.

54 VSLAs were established with over 1,300 members—more than 80 percent of them women. In the first year, members collectively saved over $131,000 USD across all 54 groups. The VSLAs have served to reinforce income-generating activities in the regions, with members investing in transport and food services. This directly contributes to diversify the economy in the local communities and increases their economic resiliency.

“In areas where there is no banking or formal financing, these community savings groups help build economic security and resilience. These groups foster community solidarity and trust, serving as an important entry point to local conflict resolution—supporting the overall well being of the members and communities,” said Désiré Nikiema, National Coordinator of ARM in Burkina Faso.

IMPACT also carried out research and held a number of workshops with various stakeholders in Ouagadougou, Réo and Korsimoro to discuss obstacles to the legal trade of artisanal gold and identify incentives for legal trade.

The Foundations for Peace project is undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada.

Read more about the Foundations for Peace project here: https://impacttransform.org/en/work/project/foundations-for-peace/


Media Contact:

In Burkina Faso :
Bénédicte Kinda
Communications Officer Burkina Faso, ARM

In Canada :
Zuzia Danielski
Communications Director, IMPACT

IMPACT, formerly Partnership Africa Canada, transforms how natural resources are managed in areas where security and human rights are at risk. We investigate and develop approaches for natural resources to improve security, development, and equality. We are an independent non-profit collaborating with local partners for lasting change. www.impacttransform.org

The Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM), is a global initiative that was born in 2004, with the objective of transforming artisanal and small-scale mining into a socially and environmentally responsible activity that improves the quality of life of artisanal miners and their communities. www.minesresponsables.org