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Fair Materials

Uganda Gold Partnership nominated for Responsible Business Award 2019

Fair Materials

We are delighted that the Uganda Gold Partnership was recently nominated for the Responsible Business Award 2019 in the category ‘Partnership of the Year’. This partnership is a joint collaboration between Fairphone, Hivos/Stop Child Labour, Fairtrade Foundation, Solidaridad, UNICEF, and Royal Philips to support a more responsible approach to gold sourcing.

 An ASM goldmine in Busia, Uganda.

Leveraging diverse expertise towards a joint goal

We are particularly encouraged to be nominated in this category as the purpose of our partnership is to pioneer a multi-stakeholder, multi-faceted approach to tackle child labor in artisanal and small-scale gold mines (ASM) in Busia, Uganda. Another important goal of the program is to establish a sustainable, traceable gold supply chain that contributes to a better future for miners and their families.

Within this partnership, comprised of electronics manufacturers and local and global non-profit organizations, we are able to leverage each other’s unique expertise towards these goals. Our combined effort is invaluable within the scope of this program, as gold mining is a complex field where different challenges can only be tackled through cooperation between a wide range of actors: on a local, national and international level.

Our local implementation partners also play an essential role: three ASM mines in Uganda, the local government of Busia and authorities in the implementing areas, EWAD, Nascent, Fairtrade Africa, Solidaridad East and Central Africa, UNICEF, and The Impact Facility.

 A presentation during the inception meeting with our local partners.

Continued progress towards a more responsible ASM gold sector

Our approach is tackling the challenges directly and at their root causes, building partnerships, and piloting scalable solutions on the ground. We hereby work on four distinct levels: community, mine, market, and national level. Active since 2017, the partnership has steadily continued working towards eliminating child labor from ASM gold mining in Uganda, improving working conditions, and ensuring a responsible, traceable gold supply chain.

Providing access to necessary investments and formal market channels against gradual improvements of the mine site on social and environmental criteria is an important part of our work as both are essential to provide the economic incentive to enable investment in these improvements.

 Visiting one of the three selected ASM mines in Uganda.

To date, the program has achieved positive results at the community and mine level. We signed memorandums of understandings (MOUs) with three mining cooperatives, committing to gradual improvements against a set of social and environmental criteria against investments in production equipment and market access. At the pilot area of the motivational centers, we have engaged about a quarter of the children identified as being at risk of child labour or already working in gold mines, with the aim of getting them back to school. In addition, the following results were identified so far:

  • Installation of a mercury-free gold processing center and enabling increased production at the mine site to eventually increase income levels and profitability of the mine;
  • Training 15% of miners in business planning, and health and safety regarding mining methods;
  • 16 teachers are applying child-friendly classroom teaching methods and reaching more than 800 children with those new methods;
  • 12 community mobilizers are working with the communities on identifying children at risk of child labor and children out of school. They are working on getting the children back to school or to the motivational centers, and talking to the community members during gatherings and meetings about the risks of child labor and the value of education;
  • Forming two village saving groups with 45 families, hereby working towards reducing the risk that children from low-income families resort to becoming involved in gold mining labor.
 Joining forces for more responsible gold mining.

Join us

With the Uganda Gold Partnership, we seek to set an example for the gold industry that illustrates the positive impact that can be created in joint effort and cooperation. Such positive impact is only truly sustainable when there is sufficient engagement from all parties involved in the gold supply chain as well as from the communities and local governments.

We hereby invite you to join us in our work towards a responsible gold supply chain. Examples of involvement include:

  • Purchasing responsible gold from the mines involved in the program;
  • Making funds available for investment in the mines involved in the program;
  • Actively support the integration of the gold from these mines into your own supply chain.

You can find more information on this program in our joint Uganda Gold Partnership program overview.

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Image credits: Solidaridad

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