Alumni Stories

Managing the social and environmental impacts of artisanal mining in Cameroon

Managing the social and environmental impacts of artisanal mining in Cameroon
  • Name: Bertrand Ngouo
  • Title: Executive Officer
  • Organisation: Green Space
  • Country: Cameroon
  • Programs participated in:

    Managing the Social and Environmental Impacts of Mining (Australia Awards), Madagascar and Australia 2015

Alumni story Bertrand  main pic

In Cameroon, most artisanal and small scale mining (ASM) communities are characterized by declining agriculture activity, environmental destruction and women miners who are socially and economically disadvantaged compared to men.

As part of his Return to Work following his participation in the Australia Awards short course on Managing the Social and Environmental Impacts of Mining (MSEIM) 2015, Bertrand Ngouo organised a two day workshop in July 2015 in Mbouda, Cameroon. Thirty five participants from small-scale mining and agriculture communities, officials from the Ministry of Trade, and representatives from the traditional and local government learnt about the social and environment aspects of ASM.

“I centred discussions on the social responsibility of women in mining and their empowerment through market transparency. This workshop gave room for participants to be trained on how to carry out rehabilitation around mining sites, and risk management in mining. Participants’ attention was equally drawn on the health and environmental problems related to the use of mercury.”

Bertrand encouraged miners to organize themselves into an association for collective bargaining power in sales and purchases and to save income in order to buy protective clothing and shoes for mining and farm inputs for smallholder agriculture. Furthermore he emphasized the importance of education, health and social well-being of the family as priorities to benefit from ASM.

At the end of the workshop, climate-resilient and fruit-bearing plants were distributed to participants to incentivize their commitments in undertaking rehabilitation around mine sites and their engagement in small-scale farming.

Four months after the capacity building workshop was held, the Greenspace Monitoring and Evaluation team visited the community to assess the impact of the training.

“The results gathered so far are satisfactory as many miners have actually grouped themselves into an already existing association called “Ngomba”. Some have bought safety gear for mining, and the majority of women miners are more engaged in smallholder farming alongside mining. In some abandoned mined sites, trees have been planted and are fast-growing to begin the rehabilitation process.

As of today, the new momentum gained from MSEIM Course has afforded me other responsibilities. It has enabled my organization (Green Space) to broaden its scope and perspective for better upholding the global vision of Sustainable Development Goals, at the local and regional levels.”

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