Community Engagement for the Transformation of Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining and Social Learning: Concepts and Lessons from the Transmape Project in Ecuador
This project report provides a general account of the completed activities and deliverables achieved in the CIRDI TransMAPE-Ecuador project, “Education for the Transformation of Artisanal and Small-scale Mining.” The TransMAPE project was the result of coordinated action between the Canadian International Resources and Development Institute (CIRDI) and the Vice Ministry of Mines in Ecuador with its related institutions, and with the support of other academic institutions and community-based artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) organizations. The primary long-term objective of the TransMAPE project was to co-design a training program for miners, communities, regulators and policy-makers to assist in the technical certification of small-scale artisanal mining in Ecuador. CIRDI’s aim was for a competency-based training program that builds the capacity of ASM miners.
TransMAPE was conceptualized as an educational process focusing on the professionalization of artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) practices in Southern Ecuador. This process involved a diverse group of community-based organizations, government representatives, miners, academics and local university students who, through a number of organized, facilitated discussions, generated a range of educational and technical research-based ideas addressing the challenges and practices in ASM. Their ultimate goal was the collaborative development of an environmentally sustainable and economically efficient ASM sector in Southern Ecuador. The education model we employed and adapted to the current reality of the Ecuadorian ASM sector, is called “social learning” (Keen, Brown, & Dryball, 2005).
This report highlights CIRDI’s technical and educational experiences in the design and implementation of two pilot training modules for participating miners from two communities: Zaruma-Portovelo and Ponce Enríquez. The first part of the report describes the outcomes of fieldwork conducted in Southern Ecuador. This fieldwork was part of the technical analysis phase of the project, which aimed to evaluate the processes related to mining and mineral processing applied in ASM. This evaluation was key in identifying existing weaknesses and strengths in the sector. The second part of the report provides recommendations for training and an account of the main features of the educational process – community-based social learning – used in the TransMAPE project. It includes the conceptual and practical dimensions of our methods for applying community-based social learning to strengthen the capacity of diverse ASM groups in Southern Ecuador, with the ultimate goal of transforming their mining practices to make them more environmentally and economically sustainable.
TransMAPE was a project that was integral to CIRDI’s ASM Program Strategy, which aims to Educate, Organize, and Formalize. CIRDI is emerging as one of Canada’s key organizations delivering technical assistance, policy guidance, and leading research to transform ASM into a safe, clean, and sustainable source of livelihood. We believe that the ASM sector requires enhanced coordination, collaboration, and trust between miners and government, along with educated practitioners to manage and sustainably share benefits from mineral resource endowments.