May 29 2014

Destination Fairtrade Gold Africa - Alans Diary Part 2

This was a trip taking 7 days including 7 flights and numerous minibus trips. There are mines all over Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya taking part in the initial programme to certify small-scale gold mining in Africa. From the first days in Tanzania, the trip moved to Kenya, as Alan describes:


Alan with Dr Nyagoy Nyong’o exec director Fairtrade Africa
We flew from Nairobi to Kisumu in the west of the country on lake Victoria. We then drove for four hours to Migori county. On this occasion I was joined by the CEO of Fairtrade Africa, Dr Nyagoy Nyong'o (pictured) and the leader of the African gold project Mr Gonzaga Mungai. I heard how Fairtrade had impacted hundreds of thousands of small scale farmers in Africa. Farmers of coffee, tea , cocoa, and flowers to name a few. Now it was the turn of small Artisinal miners to get help.

Gonzaga has been coordinating training on the ground to help formalise mining communities. The miners have never been paid properly and lack the funds to know how much their gold weighs or the correct percentage of gold in their production . They get exploited at every point. We visited the mines where even basic equipment was lacking, where health and safety didn't exist and children are sent down into the mines to do extremely dangerous work.

As in Tanzania, exploitation by local traders is commonplace. They buy usually on behalf of Asian traders in big cities who sell to big refineries in Dubai. They make a fortune while the miners are kept in poverty.

The question you should ask yourself is " Do you know where the gold in your ring came from"?