Female gemstone miners seek ZDA’s aid


THE Association of Zambian Women in Mining (AZWIM) has engaged the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) to find ways of linking them to potential investors to contribute effectively to the gemstone industry.
AZWIM president Namakau Kaingu said in an interview recently that the association has approached ZDA to seek ways of how best the agency could help them find investors.
Ms Kaingu said, however, that Government has on a number of times been engaged over various challenges women miners face, but there has been little progress.
She said Government’s response has generally been that its role is to facilitate and create an environment suitable for business to thrive and attract investors.
Ms Kaingu said in Kenya and Tanzania, respective governments have put up policies to support women gemstone miners and hopes the same would happen in Zambia.
She also bemoaned inadequate financial support to enable women gemstone miners acquire heavy-duty mining equipment.
Ms Kaingu said some women gemstone miners have failed to run their enterprises productively because of the challenges they face.
“We have serious challenges in this sector as women entrepreneurs. We have the potential to contribute to the gemstone industry as women, but we can’t perform because of inadequate financial support,” she said.
Ms Kaingu said over the years, women miners have achieved very little progress largely due to lack of equipment to use in the extraction of minerals.
She said majority women gemstone miners use light equipment to undertake their operations, making their work insignificant as the venture is labour-intensive.
“We require equipment that would make work easier… Most of us use equipment like wheelbarrows and hammers to conduct our operations, which is not easy in this sector. Our operations have been hampered by so many factors,” she said.
Ms Kaingu, however, said that not all hope is lost, as women miners are still managing their operations, albeit with difficulty.

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