Training Under The Madini Yetu, Wajibu Wetu Project
Mr. Steve Ayaka is a resident of Migori County and an artisanal miner. His engagement in the copper mining processes within the County has helped him cater for the needs of his family. With a group of friends, he engages in exploiting the tailings of an old copper mine in the region that is still able to produce some minerals on a small scale. While he has been engaged in mining for a long time, Mr. Ayaka has had been part of a loose network of miners who have come together to address common problems that affect them.
This group has morphed into a savings and cooperative (Sacco) named Copperhill Sacco. The group had been keen to follow on the developments relating to the review of laws and regulations relating to the mining sector. He and a colleague were part of the group that participated in the sensitization workshop on the Mining Act in Migori by Econews Africa. Afterwards, he followed up with Econews Africa (ENA) on the proposed regulations that relate to artisanal mining, which had been proposed by the Ministry of Mining Kenya.
With the information acquired from the training, Mr. Ayaka has trained members of his own Sacco on the changes they are going to be facing with the coming into force of the mining regulations. This has spurred the group to take further steps towards formal recognition as well as getting in touch with government officials from the region including National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and county officials. The intention of the group is to be represented in the yet to be formed local committee to regulate Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) within the County.
His direct engagement in the training under the Madini Yetu, Wajibu Wetu project has honed his leadership skills within his own Sacco. He believes that this places him in a favorable position to represent other miners in the local committee once formed. He admits not to have known the details about the mining laws and regulations even before the changes were made and was operating outside the boundaries of what the law required.
However, the new knowledge acquired has made him appreciate the importance of operating within the law especially with regard to matters of environment, health and safety, which were largely ignored by members of his Sacco. Mr. Ayaka is now motivated to support his Sacco as well as the larger network of artisanal miners in his community to understand and advocate for their rights while adopting safe industry practices to ensure limited damage to the environment and human health in general. He is also committed to raising awareness within the larger community.