The Artisanal Mining Women’s Empowerment Credit & Savings project

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Summary of the project

Members of the village savings and loans associations meet regularly to put money into their association’s savings and to loan their growing funds to members. In contrast to microfinance institutions, the interest paid on credit goes back into the communal pot so members see their savings increase over time.

The project facilitates sensitization on gender equality and lead discussions with female members of associations and their partners about household finances to challenge traditional stereotypes and gender roles. We provide financial literacy training to women who access credit from their association to undertake new entrepreneurial activities around mine sites.

Components of AFECCOR:

  • Village savings and loans association
  • Literacy Training
  • Group discussions on gender equality
  • Business skills training

Envisioned impact

By participating in the AFECCOR project, artisanal miners and community members decrease their reliance on informal credit networks that characterize the “gold economy,” where gold is used as currency to cover basic needs, small businesses and mine site operations, often with unfavourable conditions.

The AFECCOR project provides a safe space for all members of the associations to save and access credit. To encourage sustainability and knowledge sharing, volunteers in the community are trained to provide literacy and financial coaching to other members of their association. Artisanal miners are provided with additional training to support effec­tive equipment management.

Through AFECCOR, artisanal mining communities gain economic security and access favourable credit alternatives while promoting women’s eco­nomic empowerment.

Beneficiary groups

Women and men participating in the Just Gold project and those in nearby mining communities in Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ituri Province are supported by AFECCOR toestablish village savings and loans associations.

The AFECCOR project promotes women’s leadership and economic empowerment in their homes, at artisanal mine sites, and in the wider community.

“IMPACT is committed to gender equality and women’s economic empowerment in all phases of its work. We are thrilled to launch the AFECCOR project and to bring this service to the communities already involved in our Just Gold project—filling a need for both women’s economic opportunities in artisanal mining, and promoting transparent credit structures as a means to further curb illicit financing.” - Joanne Lebert, IMPACT’s Executive Director

Intervantion territory:
Democratic Republic of Congo, northeastern Ituri Province, Mambasa Territory

Implementing partners
IMPACT (formally Partnership Africa Canada)

The project will run from March 2017 to February 2019


Specific feature
AFECCOR is an extension of the Just Gold project and tries to address these challenges. Through its Just Gold project, IMPACT developed a model for traceability and due diligence imple­mentation for artisanal gold. The project also sup­ports efforts to formalize the artisanal gold mining sector in Democratic Republic of Congo.

The project has spotlighted a “gold economy” that exists within the artisanal mining sector—an opaque system of credit and loans, where gold is used as currency to cover basic needs and mine site operations, often with unfavourable condi­tions.

As part of the Just Gold project, a complete gen­der analysis of the artisanal gold supply chain at the mine sites and neighbouring mining communi­ties demonstrated that women have an important role in artisanal mining, but often experience bar­riers. IMPACT’s research showed the lack of access to secure savings and credit, proved an additional challenge.

Photo credit: Zuzia Danielski/IMPACT