Women demand more inclusion in mineral resources governance

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December 14, 2018

By Elizabeth A. Kaine

women
A cross section of women at the conference

Women on Mining and Extractives (WOME) has during  a two-day mining and extractives conference called on the government of Sierra Leone to increase women participation in the management of the country’s mineral resources.

The conference, which was held at the Council of Churches in Sierra Leone (CCSL) headquarters in Freetown from 11th to 12th December, was organised by WOME, with support from Development and Peace –Canada.

It attracted various women groups across the country and was aimed at contributing to the review process of the Sierra Leone mining polices and laws relating to mining and extractives in the country.

National Coordinator for WOME, Esther Kandeh, stated that women groups across the country have been able to identify and consolidate their position regarding mining governance.

She said they wanted a section that will address the concerns of women in the mining areas and guarantee the protection and respect for women’s right and improvement of their livelihood and living conditions of the present and future generations.

“We believe that if our demands are met, that would help to promote transparent, accountable and inclusive governance of our minerals resources. It will build trust and confidence in women,” she said.

Umu Ndanema, a participant from Tongo Field in the Kenema district, stated that there should be an open and fair space for women’s participation in decision making in the extractive value chain, so as to enable them contribute to the development of their communities.

She further that women living in mining communities encounter a lot of challenges, adding that they were the backbone  of national  development, yet they lack better facilities like health centres, electricity, safe drinking pipe borne water, good roads, among a host of others.

 “We want the government to look into the mining Act of this country and see how best they will try for women to be part of the process. We believe that if these opportunities are given to us, we can do more than men,” she said.

WOME was formed in 2013 and works across regions where mining activities are ongoing. They are currently working with 27 communities across the country.