PROMOTING RESILIENCE TO IMPACT OF COVID-19 IN ARTISANAL MINING COMMUNITIES IN NIGER AND OSUN STATES OF NIGERIA
The impact of Covid-19 has been evident in all artisanal mining communities in Nigeria. Mineral production, trade and communities’ livelihoods have been directly and indirectly affected by travel bans and movement restrictions, health advisories and other preventive measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus. Compliance with hand washing and social distancing has also been a challenge to execute. The effects of and measures introduced to contain the spread of COVID-19 have exacerbated the existing inequalities faced by populations living in Artisanal Mining communities and further exposed them to health and safety issues.
As lockdown and quarantine measures were imposed and these miners are forced into the home, their very livelihoods are threatened. Many operate small and often informal businesses and, in many cases, live hand to mouth. With most of this communities located in hard to reach areas, the ongoing sensitization program, social safety net projects and government economic interventions may not be assessable by these populations who are also at risk of contracting the virus due to their routine activities and social engagements.
Safer Worlds Foundation (SWF) and Ziva Community Initiative have been working with mining communities to support awareness creation and also business development initiatives to promote sustainable livelihoods, quality hygiene practice and empowerment of women who are mostly disadvantaged in these activities. These organizations have also been working to build a sustainable mining community through innovation and technology; strengthen the value chain and diversity through empowerment program.
With financial support from EGPS, this project therefore seeks to address the socio-economic and health and safety concerns associated with artisanal mining communities especially as aggravated by the ravaging covid-19 pandemic. The virus could potentially have a devastating impact on already fragile communities with weak healthcare systems and which also have high levels of violence.
The project will also strive to bridge the gap of inequality and promote women engagement by support and strengthening already existing women cooperative groups and societies in target project locations. The Cooperatives in ASM were formed due to Federal Government programs on the formalization of ASM to curb their activities.
DEVELOPMENT OBJECTIVE OF THE PROJECT:
The overall goal of the project is to have men, women and youths in artisanal mining communities withstand the socio-economic and health and safety impact of the Covid-19 pandemic through health and livelihood support. Specific objectives include the following:
- Enhanced socio-economic capacity of men, women and youths selected artisanal mining communities through livelihood and economic support.
- Increased knowledge and capacity of men, women and youths in artisanal mining communities of Covid-19 health and safety protocols during mining activities