International gemstone training and sourcing program, Moyo Gems, is set to unveil responsible mining initiative in Kenya.
The partnership funded through Extractives Global Programmatic Support Multi-Donor Trust Fund (EGPS) of the World Bank, will support key training programs on Gemstone Value Chain and Mining Health and Safety and other related topics.
A pre-selected pilot class of artisanal and small scale (ASM) gemstone miners will be trained in Taita Taveta County in what will culminate in a first purchasing event. A key part of the Moyo Gems program is its emphasis on women miners.
“Women form both the beginning and the end of the jewellery supply chain. One of the reasons that Moyo has become so beloved around the world so quickly is because we really focus on women miners, elevate them, and bring new resources into an area,” Moyo Gems co-founder Cristina Villegas, who is the director of mining at the nonprofit Pact International said.
The collaborators in Kenya include: Pact Kenya, Pact Tanzania, the County Government of Taita Taveta, and the Association of Women in Extractive Industries in Kenya (AWEIK). Taita Taveta Deputy Governor Majala Mlagui, who has been a long-time ASM coloured gemstone advocate, said the county government was keen to implement programmes to empower women socio-economically across the county.
“I am excited that in addition to the farming programmes, for example, we are now able to enter the gemstone mining space with an economically impactful initiative for artisanal miners across the value chain,” she said.
“Moyo Gems has done superbly well in Tanzania and we look forward to replicating that success with miners, gemstone traders and jewellery artisans uplifting our Taita Taveta hidden treasures such as Tsavorite gemstone and converting the mineral potential into economic wealth for our county utilising the novel Everledger gemstone blockchain technology for increased transparency and traceability,” the Deputy Governor added.
Moyo Gems was created in Tanzania by international nonprofit organization Pact, the Tanzanian Women Miners Association (TAWOMA), Technology Company Everledger, and international traders ANZA Gems and Nineteen48. Since then, Maison Piat and others have joined as regular buyers.
The initiative has been profiled in British Vogue Magazine, Forbes, among many other mainstream and gem trade publications. In Kenya, the Moyo Gems program will commence with an international study tour that will bring selected Kenyan miners and officials to Tanzania to observe the Tanzanian program in action and to identify ways to craft the program to the Kenyan context.