Women’s Security as a Pathway to Improved Livelihoods in Democratic Republic of Congo’s Cobalt Mining Communities
IMPACT’s Her Security project aims to investigate how enhancing women’s security in artisanal cobalt and copper mining communities in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) can improve livelihoods and decrease child labour. The project will examine various aspects of women’s security—including physical, economic, and energy—to lay a foundation for future evidence-based programs and policy interventions.
How will women’s security impact child labour?
Child labour is the result of deeply-rooted factors, and is particularly driven by poverty at the household level. In 2018, the World Bank estimated that 73 percent of the DRC’s households lived under the international poverty rate of $1.90 USD a day, while 43 percent of its children were malnourished. Work at artisanal mines in the DRC is driven by the lack access to alternative or equally lucrative economic opportunities for both women and men. Low incomes have prompted children to be involved in economic activities such as mining, while a lack of household resources is a major barrier to schooling.
Anecdotal evidence, supported by IMPACT’s preliminary research, suggests that enhancing women’s security can reduce child labour.
We believe that increasing women’s ability to earn a living wage and reinvest part of it in targeted ways, will strengthen household economic resilience and/or stability. In turn, we hypothesize that improving livelihoods decrease the need for households to rely on children’s revenues, and therefore decrease child labour.
In the DRC, children receive only 4.5 years of Learning Adjusted Years of School, which is calculated based on the average time spent in school and their quality of education. Decreasing child labour and ensuring households have the resources to send their children to school will provide future generations, particularly girls, with better economic and social opportunities.
How will the Her Security project support women’s security?
The Her Security project will develop its key findings through a desk study, on-the-ground research across communities in Lualaba Province in DRC, and interviews with multi-stakeholder experts, including academic, non-profit, and international organizations. We will conduct a preliminary analysis of existing initiatives and available data to inform our data collection, as well as a series of expert interviews that will inform our on-the-ground research. In partnership with Bon Pasteur Kolwezi, we will conduct field research through targeted focus groups and surveys in artisanal cobalt mining communities and with other relevant DRC stakeholders.
IMPACT is collaborating with Bon Pasteur Kolwezi and the Good Shepherd International Foundation (GSIF) to implement the project.
The Her Security project is an eight-month project in 2022. Her Security is undertaken with funding provided by a member of the Responsible Minerals Initiative, through the Responsible Business Alliance Foundation.