Fairtrade has been awarded a Comic Relief grant of £868,219 to extend its ground-breaking African Gold Programme which aims to support the world’s first responsibly sourced gold from East Africa.
The four-year programme builds on a pilot funded by Comic Relief from 2012-2015, which supported nine mining groups across Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda to work towards Fairtrade certification.
The grant will allow these mining sites to further invest in their own development, increase productivity and eventually deliver sales in to international Fairtrade markets.
Michael Gidney, chief executive of the Fairtrade Foundation, comments: “The situation faced by small-scale miners across Africa is a scandal that should have no place in modern supply chains. We are working to create a Fairtrade business model that will change that, and we are delighted that our renewed support from Comic Relief will enable us to make even faster progress”.
Support from Comic Relief has already brought benefits to miners like Johannes Ojowi from Micodepro mining group in Kenya who says: “The training we have received through Fairtrade has enlightened us here. It has taught us how to mine, to be safe.”
Over the next four years the African Gold Programme will support miners to work towards certification and to improve the safety, cleanliness and productivity of their mining sites by improving their access to finance and training.
There are currently two Fairtrade certified mines in Peru, Sotrami and Macdesa, with a total annual production of 800kg of gold and 200kg of silver. Once the African mines become Fairtrade certified, they will add a further 44kg gold to volumes available to international Fairtrade markets.
First launched in 2011 in the UK, jewellery made from Fairtrade gold can now be bought in many markets around the world including recent launches in Switzerland and the USA.