RESOURCE-FUL Empowerment: Addressing violence for the green transition

Grantee: ASEFA, GIRENAD, SOFEDI, HHI
Country: Democratic Republic of Congo

Overview

Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM) sites in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) produce up to 70% of the minerals that fuel the “greening” of the global economy through clean technologies, including the “3T” minerals: tin, tantalum, and tungsten. Yet ASM sites are also places where women, who comprise 50% of the workforce, face shockingly high levels of sexual and economic exploitation. Building upon a successful RISE pilot project called “Resource-ful Empowerment,” this intervention uses grassroots community education and mobilisation to address gender-based violence (GBV) while promoting environmental sustainability of mining in communities that produce “green energy” minerals. 

Targeted Outcome

Creating just, equitable and safe sites for women to realise their economic potential in 3T mining sites that fuel the green transition.

Planned Reach

Planned direct reach: 855 direct project participants in 9 mining sites; a cohort of 95 men will participate in self-selected community action groups who will work to support women’s empowerment and safety in mining.

Planned Reach

3,600 people are expected to be impacted by the work of the project.

Situational background

Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM) sites in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) produce up to 70% of the minerals that fuel the ‘greening’ of the global economy through clean technologies. Yet ASM sites are also places where women, who comprise 50% of the workforce, face high levels of sexual exploitation to access mining-related roles. Here, 30% percent of women stated they had been harassed by men in the mines, and only one out of seven women ever discussed this with others. An untrue but widely perpetuated belief is that women are legally barred from mining areas, resulting in men forcing women to trade sex for the ‘privilege’ of not being reported to authorities, a commonplace and deeply harmful form of sexual exploitation and violence.

Project Approach

The ’Resource-ful Empowerment’ intervention aims to address the high risk of sexual violence women face when working in ASM towns in eastern DRC. Led by Action pour la Sauvegarde de l’Enfant et de la Femme Abandonnés (Action to Protect Women and Abandoned Children – ASEFA) in partnership with the Groupe d’Appui à la Gestion Intégrée des Ressources Naturelles pour les Droits humains et le Développement Durable (Support Group for the Integrated Management of Natural Resources for Human Rights and Sustainable Development – GIRENAD), Solidarité des Femmes pour le Développement Intégré (Women’s Solidarity for Integrated Development – SOFEDI) and the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI). Together, project partners will work to address sexual exploitation in mining sites by using grassroots community education and social norms change mobilisation while also promoting environmental sustainability. The project scales a previous RISE grants challenge project that compared two versions of the training., Communities using the training version that emphasized empathy and interconnectedness saw a decrease in sexual harassment from 32% to 19% while sexual coercion halved from 12% to 6%. The project will support green transition sectors to learn how risks and threats to women’s safety from sexual violence can be improved within supply and value chains.