IMPACT supports local artisanal gold miners and community members to establish Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs). 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 the 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.
In March 2017, the AFECCOR project was launched in Democratic Republic of Congo’s northeastern Ituri Province. This was one of the first case studies documented introducing the VSLA model to artisanal gold communities.
An extension of the Just Gold project, AFECCOR was funded by the European Partnership for Responsible Minerals and Dell.
In 2021, AFECCOR was launched as part of the Foundations of Peace project in Burkina Faso. Foundations for Peace is undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada.
Modestine is a shopkeeper in Democratic Republic of Congo who runs a store selling clothing to artisanal gold miners in her community. She shares how through safe access to loans, she was able to invest in her second business—produce she farms and sells—and income which she was then able to re-invest into her shop. ? Video by Sven Torfinn/IMPACT
Ernest is an artisanal gold miner in Democratic Republic of Congo. He shares how access to savings has him planning for the future with his wife. Video by Sven Torfinn/IMPACT
Furaha is an artisanal gold miner in Democratic Republic of Congo. She shares how access to loans allowed her to invest in her business—a restaurant at the mine site—and ensure she had stable income over the year. Video by Sven Torfinn/IMPACT