Artisanal and small-scale miners network strikes gold

16 Aug 2023

The team behind the Delve Exchange have been recognised with a gold award for Educational Excellence at the  2023 Global Good Awards.

The Delve Exchange is a knowledge exchange network operated for, and by, artisanal and small-scale miners (ASM) and quarry workers operating across Africa, the Asia-Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

Delve Exchange knowledge exchange coordinators from India, Burkina Faso, Bolivia, Peru, Indonesia and Zimbabwe with SMI’s  Daniel Franks and Lynda Lawson
Delve Exchange Knowledge Exchange Coordinators from India, Burkina Faso, Bolivia, Peru, Indonesia and Zimbabwe with SMI’s Professor Daniel Franks and Dr Lynda Lawson  met face to face for the first time at World Bank conference in Nairobi in December 2022.  Image credit: Blessing Hungwe

It was established through a collaboration between SMI’s Development Minerals Program, the Association of Women in Mining Africa, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the ACP-EU Development Minerals Program implemented by the United Nations Development Programme, with funding from the World Bank’s Extractives Global Programmatic Support Fund.

Initially the aim was to enable networking and exchange during COVID-19, but the Exchange developed into a key communication tool and now has over 1000 members engaged across 71 countries through 7 WhatsApp groups and 100 regional monthly forums.

Dr Lynda Lawson from SMI’s Development Minerals program said she was delighted by news of the award.

“I am so proud of this amazing group of artisanal and small-scale miners who created the Delve Exchange with us - they have built an amazing peer support network to change lives and give voice to thousands of people living invisibly on the margins.

“The Delve Exchange’s approach is distinguished by its deliberate and purposive miner-empowerment bias. It champions, and gives voice to, miners to tell their own story in their own words.

“A notable feature is the keen participation of women miners using the Delve Exchange as a safe place to share major concerns and training topics,” Dr Lawson said.

An estimated 42 million people are employed in artisanal and small-scale mining across the globe. For many of these people, ASM provides the main source of household income, which often exceeds earnings from agriculture, retail, and other informal sector jobs.

Delve Exchange Knowledge Exchange Coordinator for Africa (English) Blessing Hungwe said the platform has an important role to play in improving outcomes for workers and their families.

“It is possible for small-scale miners like me to mobilise and organise themselves virtually. I really love the experience of artisanal and small-scale miners having their own space and owning their own agenda,” she said.

The Exchange supports peer-to-peer learning and generates knowledge and solutions that can be adopted by ASM associations to help their members and communities respond to local and national challenges.

The Global Good Award for Educational Excellence recognises education programmes and activities that expand learning, enhance access to information and provide unique academic experiences to all age groups.

The Delve Exchange's video submission for the 2023 Global Goods Awards.