Artisanal Mining Women’s Empowerment Credit & Savings (AFECCOR)
The Artisanal Mining Women’s Empowerment Credit & Savings project (AFECCOR) supports women and men in artisanal gold mining communities to access savings and credit in an effort to promote entrepreneurship and economic security.
Women and men participating in the Just Gold project and those in nearby mining communities in Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ituri Province are supported by AFECCOR to establish village savings and loans associations.
Members meet regularly to put money into their association’s savings and to loan their growing funds to members. In contrast to microfinance institutions, the interest paid on credit goes back into the communal pot so members see their savings increase over time.
The AFECCOR project promotes women’s leadership and economic empowerment in their homes, at artisanal mine sites, and in the wider community.
We facilitate sensitization on gender equality and lead discussions with female members of associations and their partners about household finances to challenge traditional stereotypes and gender roles. We provide financial literacy training to women who access credit from their association to undertake new entrepreneurial activities around mine sites.
By participating in the AFECCOR project, artisanal miners and community members also decrease their reliance on informal credit networks that characterize the “gold economy,” where gold is used as currency to cover basic needs and mine site operations, often with unfavourable conditions.
The AFECCOR project provides a safe space for all members of the associations to save and access credit. To encourage sustainability and knowledge sharing, volunteers in the community are trained to provide literacy and financial coaching to other members of their association. Artisanal miners are provided with additional training to support effective equipment management.
Through AFECCOR, artisanal mining communities gain economic security and access favourable credit alternatives while promoting women’s economic empowerment.
An extension of the Just Gold project, AFECCOR is funded by the European Partnership for Responsible Minerals. Additional funding is provided by Dell. The project launched in March 2017.
Meet Josephine Kibondo and Moza Zawadi, two women artisanal gold miners in Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ituri Province. They share their stories of their life as artisanal miners and, while they say it’s hard work, they rely on the income from artisanal mining to support their families.
Women are an essential part of artisanal mining, taking on roles from panning and processing, to trading goods and services. But their diverse participation and the challenges they face in being recognized as economic actors in the sector are often ignored.
Video by Sven Torfinn/IMPACT
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