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Collective Action for Rights Realisation in Extractives Industry (CLARITY) project

By Nicholaus Jackson & Clay Mwaifwani

The Collective Action for Rights Realisation in Extractives Industry (CLARITY) project is designed to address key challenges that exclude marginalized women, youth and PWDs from equitably benefiting from the extractive sector in the lake zone Tanzania.

Like many other resource-rich countries, Tanzania is yet to realize resource-based development. The country poverty average stands at 47%. The mineral-rich regions of Geita and Mara stand at 62% and 50% respectively. Again, Geita has one of the highest gender gaps in terms of education, health and standards of living (THDR, 2017). Poverty, lack of adequate education, and gender gaps exclude communities, mostly women, youth and PWDs, from equitably benefiting from the extractives industry.

Owing to discriminatory attitudes, stigmatization and an unfriendly working environment; PWDs are excluded from engaging in the available opportunities in the extractive industry.

The extractive industry is featured with unending investor-community conflicts. Most of such conflicts are caused by limited knowledge of community needs and interests by extractive companies.

Mining activities are associated with the use of hazardous chemicals such as mercury and cyanide. Unhealthy discharge of toxic water leads to water pollution and land degradation.

Men and women do interact with the environment in different ways thus they are affected differently by environmental degradation. In most cases, women are adversely affected.

The CLARITY project is implemented by the following strategies: broadening collaborative multi-stakeholder partnerships; strengthening implementation of existing national-level policy to the local level; promoting the profitable role of marginalized groups in the sector, while ensuring their support, protection and inclusion; Instigating sustainable rights violation reporting and response mechanisms.

This project strives to capacitate women, youth and PWDs to realize their rights to full and equal economic participation in sustainable livelihoods within the extractive sector in the Mara and Geita regions of Tanzania. It is implemented in the mineral-rich regions of Geita and Mara. Particularly Geita Town Council, Geita District Council, Bunda District Council, Butiama District Council and Tarime District Council (throughout this article shall be referred to as the project area).

The project uses a people-centred approach by building a common understanding of the key challenges and constraints that deny women, youth and PWD' exercise of the right to participation in resilient livelihoods, decision and policy-making processes, access to information and justice in the extractive sector value chain.

Objectives of the project are to strengthen human rights and business responsive due diligence mechanisms that hold duty bearers to account for and increase access to justice in the extractive sector, delivered to marginalised groups by CSOs, unions and networks. As well as strengthening accountability and responsiveness by duty bearers in both public and private sectors in the extractive industry in issues about labour standards and environmental protection/stewardship.

We were able to meet with the government officials at the Reginal, District and Ward level all over the project area. The meetings were centred on project introduction, creation of good rapport, exchange of experience and best practices to be adopted to reach the wide audience of primary actors and the general community. Further, the project team managed to identify and assess several local civil society organizations (CSOs) from which it selected 11 with whom it signed the MOUs and commenced capacity building sessions.

Preliminary studies of the project include the baseline study, political economy analysis and social inclusion and gender analysis. Project interventions owe their relevance to the above three studies. Studies were conducted all over the project area. Preliminary studies, among other things, delved into the following key issues:

  1. Barriers to gender and social inclusion in decision-making processes
  2. Economic opportunities within the extractive sector
  3. Access to information and services
  4. Access to justice
  5. Good governance in both public and private sectors

With the support from the Regional and District government officials, the project managed to identify and assess 12 CSOs from which it selected 11. Kivulini Women rights organization, New Life Children Centre organization (NELICO) Himiza Social Justice, Hope for Girls and Women, Children Development Forum (CDF), Songa Mbele, Nyumba Salama GEWOMA, ACTS, GELAC CHAWATA and, Hope For Girls and Women Tanzania (HGWT).

While Mineral benefits accrue to the national level, the cost, loss of land, livelihoods and pollution, accrue to the local level. That alone calls for collective actions for rights realization in the extractive (mining) industry. Communities are entitled to participate in natural resources governance. However, the right to public participation is dependent on other rights such as the right to information. Public Officials ought to act transparently and let all key information be publicly available.

Mineral resources are non-renewable. Sustainable management of mineral resources entails the integration of the mining sector with the rest of the economy (FYDP III). Governments can link communities with the mining sector in several ways such as enhancing communities’ capacity to supply goods and services to mining enterprises (local content).

Our project team managed to assess and select primary actors with whom it shall capacitate and work to reach the wider audience. The capacity building sessions solely rested on strengthening primary actors capacity to hold duty bearers into account. The project team is truly grateful for the promising impacts the session have manifested. Further, the project team held cheerful talks with primary actors on key issues in the extractive industry such as participatory budgeting and citizen-led monitoring. Again, during such sessions, primary actors were aspired to make good use of opportunities in the mining sector value chain.

Following the assessment, a total of 65 interactive theatre volunteers have been taken aboard (at least for now). Interactive theatre is one of the unique approaches the project deploy on implementation. The project uses Interactive theatre to reach out to the wider audience in the project area, raise the voice of primary actors and influence community behaviour change.

We met with representatives from different media houses in the country that have their offices/correspondents in Geita. Such media houses include Clouds Media Group, IPP Media Limited, Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation, Wasafi Media, Majira Newspaper, Rubondo Fm, Global TV, Uhai Media, Storms Fm, Radio Kwizera and Bloggers. The meeting mainly aimed at introducing the project. In so doing the meeting highlighted project communication plans and the dos and don'ts to activity reporting. The CLARITY team shall work closely with the media to raise the voice of primary actors and to air project interventions to the wider audience.

The team worked closely with the National Economic Empowerment Council (NEEC), Small Industry Development Organization (SIDO) and Local Governments Authorities (LGAs) to identify and assess 18 potential Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the project area. Following identification and assessment, the project team, supported with SIDO and NEEC, managed to train SMEs on the basics of Business, finance, and Marketing management. The training aimed to capacitate SMEs to profitably engage in the extractive sector value chain.

This article is prepared by Nicholaus Jackson & Clay Mwaifwani from VSO