CIRDI CSR Seminar Series in East Africa: Enabling Environmentally and Socially Responsible Artisanal Mining

March 2019 – Sudan, Rwanda, Kenya, Ethiopia

In March 2019, The Canadian International Resources and Development Institute (CIRDI) was invited by the Trade Commissioners Service of Canada to present in a series of workshops in East Africa focused on responsible business conduct within the extractives sector. The initiative was developed in line with global leading practices, norms and standards, related to the advancement of the sustainable development goals and Canada’s Feminist International Policy (FIAP). As part of this mission, the CIRDI team participated in programming in Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan and Ethiopia and delivered a series of presentations on specific environmental and social issues.

CIRDI’s Program Development Officer, Patrick Weiler, presenting at the CSR workshop © Kenya Chamber of Mines

Workshops details:

  • In Sudan, following the theme “Enabling Environmentally and Socially Responsible Artisanal Mining”, the workshop highlighted the current complex environmental and social challenges in the country’s artisanal mining sector. The participants focused on exchanging information related to the inclusive formalization of the sector, improving working conditions and introducing cleaner technologies and mercury-free gold processing. Our CIRDI colleagues provided a series of presentations on compliance with the Minamata Convention on Mercury and Mercury-Free Processing Solutions, participatory approaches to educating ASM miners, the role of cooperatives and coordination mechanisms to advance the formalization process. The presentations were followed by a Q & A session that provided the multi-stakeholder workshop participants with an opportunity to share their impressions, suggestions and needs. The CIRDI team also accompanied Canadian embassy staff on a series of site visits to artisanal extraction and processing sites took place in the days leading up to the event.

Field visit to a mine site in Sudan © Sudanese Mineral Resources Company

  • In Kenya, CIRDI delivered a presentation on the theme of “Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining: Gender-Specific Impacts and Opportunities.” The event was co-hosted by the Canadian High Commission to Kenya and the Kenya Chamber of Mines. The audience was comprised mostly of artisanal and small-scale gold and gemstone miners, as well as representatives from the national government, large-scale mining companies and NGOs. The workshop featured presentations from Mr. Francis Kihumba, of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, on the status of UNDP-implemented NAP program and new regulations on waste management in the country; a member of the State Department of Mining who gave an overview of the regulatory framework and recent developments; Grace Wasike, Youth and Gender Officer who presented on involvement of women and the community in the promotion of environmental protection and mining safety standards. Participants were highly engaged and provided strong questions and contributions to the discussion focused primarily on formalization, that was facilitated by the Kenya Chamber of Mines.

Corporate Social Responsibility Forum on Artisanal Mining in Kenya © Kenya Chamber of Mines


  • In Rwanda, CIRDI presented on the theme of “Addressing the Environmental Impacts of Mining: Moving the frontier from CSR to Shared Value.” CIRDI stressed on the importance of keeping tripartite discussions (government, industry and communities). This point was retained by many participants who used the opportunity to urge the Government to engage with communities and invest more in capacity building. The presentation was followed by a group discussion session that focused on the role of government and miners in mitigating the environmental impact of mining activities and on the involvement of employees and the community in the promotion of environmental protection and mining safety.
  • In Ethiopia, civil society, government and the private sector participated in discussions on the tripartite (government, community, and private sector) role in creating a shared purpose. Dr. Jocelyn Fraser from CIRDI and the University of British Columbia provided numerous examples that reframing CSR to create shared value can lead to improved social-economic outcomes for local communities. Participants engaged in a lively debate on approaches that could be adopted in Ethiopia and concluding that approaches to earning social approval could exist along a continuum from CSR to shared value.