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Burkina Faso

Gold, the main product of artisanal and small-scale mining in Burkina Faso, has become the main alternative income for the country's rural populations after agriculture and livestock. Artisanal gold mining proved to be a growing means of subsistence in the 1980s, following the great drought experienced in the West Africa region. However, the ASGM sub-sector has grown considerably with the rise in the price of gold since 2008. In addition to gold, other minerals such as phosphate, limestone, kaolin and clay are also exploited by the ASM sector1. Estimates of the size of the ASM sector vary ranging from 200,000 people strictly in ASM to 1,000,000 operators in hundreds of artisanal mines and a small number of industrial mining sites across the country.

1,000,000

Number of People
Working in ASM

View of the Djikando site in the Southwest region of Burkina Faso
Photo from Alliance from Responsible Mining

Employment

Data Source:

Data Spotlight: Gender Assessment of select ASM sites in Burkina Faso

Findings from a 2021 gender assessment of 10 artisanal and small-scale mining sites in Burkina Faso performed by the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) with funding by the Extractices Global Programmatic Support (EGPS) multi-donor trust fund.

Download the Dataset: Gender Assessment of select ASM sites in Burkina Faso

Key Finding #1: Significant lack of knowledge of the legal framework on gender and protections regarding violence against women: Even among a diverse pool of 806 respondents (direct and indirect mine works and local officials), only 13 respondents demonstrated excellent (2, 0.24%) or good (11, 1.36%) awareness of the national gender policy and framework for protection of women against violence.

"On nous a une fois dit, lors d’une session du conseil, qu’il existe un texte qui protège les femmes violentées, sans entrer dans les détails. C’est tout ce que je sais sur le sujet."

Translation: "We were once told at a council session that there is a law that protects abused women, without going into detail. That's all I know about it."

- Municipal councilor of Imiougou village January 14, 2021

Key Finding #2: Majority of men and women recognize working conditions at mines sites as challenging: Women were less likely to describe working conditions as dangerous when compared to men (men: 16.12% vs. women: 7.69%) and more willing to describe conditions as suitable. Researchers understood women's reluctance to describe working conditions as harsh for fear of men using this as an arguement to prevent them for carrying out activities at the mine site.

Key Finding #3: The majority of women working at ASM sites earn sufficient income from activities, but their earnings are not as much as men: 64% of women stated they earned more than 10,000 CFA per month (~15.19 USD), which allows them to provide a daily meal and invest in additional projects outside of mining (building a house, openning a store). Across all mine study sites, individuals recognized the presence of women around gold panning sites was growing as more women were attracted to income earning potential and perceptions of women as artisanal mining sites became more socially acceptable. Women still faced discrimination from some site owners who refused to hire women or limited the roles they could participate in to washing and sifting or providing indirect services to miners.

Perspectives on female participation in mining activities

"Selon moi, le site n’est pas un lieu pour les femmes. Par exemple, une femme qui a un enfant et qui va rester dans la poussière toute la journée avec cet enfant, elle-même peut tomber malade ainsi que l’enfant à cause de la poussière. Ce n’est pas bon. Cependant, on comprend car c’est la pauvreté qui contraint les femmes à y aller et à trouver quelque chose à faire. Mêmes les femmes enceintes qui ne devraient pas transporter des poids lourds, y vont et souvent transportent les gros cailloux. Mais ce sont des femmes qui grouillent, qui se battent à leur manière pour manger et s’en sortir" - K. F, autochtone et propriétaire de trou à Ourbi

Translation: "In my opinion, the site is not a place for women. For example, a woman who has a child and is going to stay in the dust all day with that child, she herself can get sick as well as the child because of the dust. This is not good. However, we understand because it is poverty that forces women to go and find something to do. Even pregnant women, who should not carry heavy weights, go there and often carry the big stones. But these are women who are busy, who fight in their own way to eat and get by" - K. F, native and owner of a hole in Ourbi

"On se sent fier de travailler ici parce que ce que tu ne gagnais pas avant, si venir travailler sur ce site te permet d’avoir ça, tu ne peux qu’être contente et fière de toi-même. Ce que les gens peuvent dire ne devraient pas t’engager, sinon nous entendons des gens nous qualifier comme ils veulent mais c’est leur problème à eux" - une participante au focus group de Djikando

Translation: "We feel proud to work here because what you didn't earn before, if coming to work on this site allows you to have that, you can only be happy and proud of yourself. What people may say should not engage you, otherwise we hear people calling us whatever they want but that is their problem" - Djikando focus group participant

Alert!

The data presented in this Version 1 of the Delve platform are from secondary sources and reflect data availability on the ASM sector. All data, countries and minerals are not yet represented. Data will be added on an ongoing basis as the global data gap on ASM continues to be filled. Visualizations created with Highcharts.com under a Creative Commons (CC) Attribution-NonCommercial license.

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