The pathways and opportunities for women working across the value chain in artisanal mining

This original research examines in detail for the first time the lives of those involved in the gemstone trade in Madagascar. It is original in that it brings life course methodology and institutional theory to bear on the challenging area of how to leverage better outcomes for resource rich but economically poor nations. Using the life course methodology permits a respectful, detailed and nuanced approach to the lives and decisions of miners, traders and entrepreneurs in an area which has often been ignored. The subject of coloured gemstones has received very little attention from scholars and it is hoped that this in depth but wide ranging research will make a contribution to this field.
By examining the stories of entrepreneurs who are graduates of the World Bank funded Institute of Gemmology, a training organisation which is unique in Africa, it is hoped that new knowledge about the best ways to foster productive, responsible people centred supply chains will be generated.  The work has already been well received at the Australian National University and Columbia University 

Contribution to Sustainability 
This research directly contributes to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDG 5 Gender Equality. In focusing on the lives of women in mining and trading of gemstones it is hoped that valuable information for those involved in planning and capacity building will be provided to promote better life outcomes for women and their children SDG 8 Decent work and Economic Growth. In bringing the lens of institutional theory and entrepreneur scripts to bear on the challenging area of how to leverage better outcomes for resource rich but economically poor nations. It is hoped that outcomes will lead to decent work and improved economic growth.  SDG 12 Responsible Consumption and Production. Coloured gemstones are a non-renewable resource used for the most part in the luxury market of high end jewellery. It is hoped that this research will encourage those involved in the gemstone value chain to be more aware of the need to exploit this resource in a sustainable, responsible and ethical manner

Lynda has extensive experience working with Government, the Resources Sector and Civil Society across Africa. She has specialist knowledge and experience in working in the gemstone sector and small scale mining (ASM) and with women in mining. She has worked with the German development agency on a project to improve the participation of women miners in the national dialogue on small scale mining in Madagascar. This involved intensive field work with women miners and training of women miners in remote and protected forest regions. She also developed and ran a new training program to build miners’ knowledge of basic field gemology and value addition.

She is currently engaged by Tiffany and Co Foundation to develop a Knowledge Hub on Gemstones- with Tanzania and Madagascar as case studies. She is also working on an EU funded audit of human rights in ASM gold mines in Burkina Faso along with French NGO Eau Vive. 

Her work with the Australian Awards for Africa, the International Mining for Development Centre, the World Bank and GIZ has given her a very wide network of connections working in Government and Civil Society in Ghana, Madagascar, Mozambique, Ivory Coast, Togo and Burkina Faso. She has over 30 years’ experience as a trainer and trainer of trainers and in designing, delivering and evaluating training programs for industry, university staff and government globally 

Key Publications

Lawson, L. (2017) Rice, sapphires and cattle in a changing climate: Artisanal and small scale mining of sapphires in Madagascar, the work lives of women miners. Between the Pick and the Plough ed. Kuntala Lahiri Dutt. ACT: Australian National University