The first ever shipment of African Fairtrade gold from Uganda has been delivered. In 2016, Syanyonja Artisan Miners Alliance (SAMA), co-operative in Uganda became the first ever African gold mine to become Fairtrade certified. It’s been a long road from mine to market but soon African miners will get the same benefits as their Fairtrade counterparts in South America.
Life is tough for small-scale gold miners. Miners often work with their bare hands, forced to accept low, unfair prices from middle men. Gold mining is often the only form of employment and miners earn as little as £0.50 a day. But with support from Fairtrade, the formerly illegal miners are now registered with the local government and the improvements have been transformational.
Joseph Waffula, General Secretary of SAMA, is looking forward to the changes Fairtrade certification will bring. ‘When we get a Fairtrade price we’ll be able to educate our children and the community will also benefit as we’ll be able to support the health centre in Busitema.
‘We’d like to support the orphans with exercise books. Even buying an extra 12 books makes a big difference.’
The potential for Fairtrade Gold to change this industry is huge – from rings on fingers to parts in phones and even types of medical treatment! But the biggest change will be for the miners themselves.
In the words of Simon Wabwire, Chairman of SAMA: ‘It was like a dream to be certified – we worked hard. It was unbelievable when we heard.’
If you, or anyone you know, are looking to buy something special at Christmas (or any time of year) why not think about Fairtrade gold? Find your nearest stockist of Fairtrade gold.
Now that’s going for gold.