Supporting West African diamond mining communities against COVID-19

Supporting West African diamond mining communities against COVID-19

In Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the EU is working to provide local diamond mining communities with the necessary tools to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Before the pandemic struck, the countries of the Mano River Union were already receiving support from the EU. Its goal was to reinforce governance in the diamond sector, to combat smuggling and to develop alternative livelihoods for artisanal mining communities. This support became even more important once the pandemic struck, which led to a sharp fall in demand for diamonds worldwide.

In Sierra Leone, the EU has provided reliable information to community leaders in the Nimikoro and Nimiyama chiefdoms on  COVID-19 response activities. In the Kono and Krio districts, musical jingles have been developed to spread the message of how to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus. Mobile speakers have been brought in to broadcast these jingles to local communities. Finally, hygiene materials such as bar soap, veronica buckets for hand washing, locally-made sanitisers and 2000 masks for mining communities are set to be distributed.

In Guinea, a local radio station is airing information about COVID-19 to the local communities in the artisanal and small-scale mining areas of the Siguiri prefecture. Furthermore, a twice-weekly interactive radio programme in French and in the local Maninka language tells locals about handwashing techniques using soapy water or hydroalcoholic solution. There are also public service announcements broadcast daily to a target audience of 600,000 on how to identify COVID-19 symptoms.

In Liberia, water and sanitation buckets fitted with faucets along with detergents (such as bleach and soap) have been distributed to communities in the districts of Grand Cape Mount and Gbapolu. Staff from the Federation of Miners Association of Liberia who are fluent in the local vernacular of the various communities carry out educational activities to reach as much of the population as possible.

The actions supported by the EU  under the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace ensure that the mining communities in these regions can continue to safely earn their livelihoods, while providing them with the tools to combat the coronavirus. This support underpins broader efforts to strengthen the implementation of the Kimberley Process in the region to contribute to the global aim of eliminating the trade in so-called ‘conflict diamonds’.

Read more about the Kimberley Process.

Read more about the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace.

Monday, 14 September, 2020