When Extractives Come Home: An Action Research on the Impact of the Extractives Sector on Women in Selected Mining Communities in Zimbabwe

Citation:

Chatiza, Kudzai, Davison Muchadenyka, Dorcas Makaza, Fanny Nyaunga, Ronnie James K. Murungu, and Lillian Matsika. 2015. “When Extractives Come Home: An Action Research on the Impact of the Extractives Sector on Women in Selected Mining Communities in Zimbabwe.” OIDA International Journal of Sustainable Development 8 (12): 45-72.

Authors: Kudzai Chatiza, Davison Muchadenyka, Dorcas Makaza, Fanny Nyaunga, Ronnie James K. Murungu, Lillian Matsika

Abstract:

The fact that mining constitute a major contributor to Zimbabwean economy cannot be overemphasized with the sector contributing more than 60% of the country's export earnings. However, its contributory role to the economy has been overshadowing its impact on communities, especially women. This paper, thus, is a result of an action research on the impact of mining and the extractive industry in general on women in selected mining communities in Zimbabwe. The study was commissioned by Actionaid International Zimbabwe and conducted by the Development Governance Institute between March and May 2015. The principal focus of the study was to provide a comprehensive understanding of the relationship between women and the extractive industry. In doing so, the research contributes to the design of context specific and appropriate strategies as well as actions to protect and uphold women's rights in mining communities. Further, the investigation identified the strategies adopted by women to safeguard their rights. This put into perspectives of women engaged in mining activities whether small scale or large scale; positive and negative externalities in relation to water, land, environment, violence, pollution and social capital emerging from mining;  and the role of women in collective action organisations advocating for mutually beneficial and sustainable mining activities. The study also analysed the legal, policy, institutional and community mechanisms that exist with a view to explaining why some of the negative impacts of mining on women persist. This is because governance is vital to promoting positive relationships between the extractive industry and the community in particular, women. In this regard, the research investigated mining governance arrangements (law, policy, institutions) and ascertained how these are reinforcing negative impacts on women. Further, the research assessed the effectiveness of mining governance arrangements in advancing women's rights and proposes changes to safeguard women's rights in the mining sector.

The third focus of the study was on citizens' agency in affected communities, women in particular in bringing mining companies to account for reinforcing women's rights. Suggestions on how to strengthen women's agency in claiming their rights in the mining sector are made on the back of analysis of field data. The research focused on the feasibility of women movements being at the centre of advocating for desired change. Most importantly, focus was placed on how women and civil society coalitions can change the relationship between women and mining companies; and an institutional mapping of key authorities and stakeholders to which lobbying, advocacy and action can be directed.

Keywords: extractives, governance, mining, women, Rights

Topics: Civil Society, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Governance, Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Zimbabwe

Year: 2015

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