Assessing Drivers for “Formalization Readiness” in ASM Communities in Kenya: Understanding the Role of Cooperatives

This study came at the request of the Kenyan State Department of Mining. Given the emphasis on ASM cooperatives in supporting the formalization process within national and county government policy, this study seeks to better understand what cooperatives need to successfully form, and how the government can best support cooperatives in the formalization process. The study is focused on just one cooperative – the Migori County Artisanal Miners Cooperative Society Limited (MICA) – which operates within the context of its own histories and dynamics. However, the findings of this study can inform a wider context.

MICA, which had an established relationship with CIRDI through other projects, agreed to participate in this study and facilitate the research. A research team of three – two CIRDI staff members and a local research assistant from the Nairobi-based Centre for Environment Justice and Development (CEJAD) – conducted the field research in Migori county over one week (February-March 2019), followed by a research validation workshop in Migori Town on May 22, 2019. The research included 15 structured interviews, three focus group discussions, and five semi-structured interviews with select government representatives based in Migori Town. In total, the research team spoke with 37 individuals, including 16 women and 21 men. The views of the members of MICA’s Management Committee were captured through individual interviews and focus group discussions.

This case study provides accessible information on what contributes to a strong ASM cooperative, and on how cooperatives can be better supported by the government. The findings of this study aim to inform dialogue around cooperatives and formalization, and related interventions.

Read the report.