Syanyonja Artisan Miners’ Alliance (SAMA) from Uganda has become the first artisanal small scale mining co-operative in Africa to become Fairtrade certified, bringing much needed hope to communities who risk their lives and environment to mine the rich gold seam that runs around Lake Victoria.
SAMA is one of nine previously informal groups from Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania which has benefitted from a Comic Relief UK funded pilot project launched by Fairtrade in 2013. This innovative program aimed to extend the benefits of Fairtrade gold to artisanal miners across East Africa.
Gonzaga Mungai, Gold Manager at Fairtrade Africa said: “This is a truly momentous and historical achievement and the realisation of a dream that is many years in the making. Gold production is an important source of income for people in rural mining economies. Congratulations to SAMA, it sets a precedent which shows that if groups like this can achieve certification, then it can work for others right across the African continent.”