Malawi: Negative consequences of mining continue to disproportionately affect women according to NGO

Author: Publish What You Pay, Published on: 19 February 2019

"Rural Women, Empowerment and Mining in Malawi", 24 January 2019.

The villagers of Mwabulambo in northern Malawi first heard about the arrival of a mining company in their area when large trucks came rolling into their dusty rural village...in the space of half a year, these rural communities were uprooted by mining activities they had been completely unaware of. None of the villagers had been consulted about these changes and no consent had been given...Even Malawi’s newest draft law, the relatively-progressive Mines and Minerals Bill, exposes a significant administrative loophole: the lack of transparency about the mining-related risks. This means that local communities’ right to access information, obtain respectful resettlement agreements, and be informed about the benefits and risks of existing and future problems aren’t officially enforced...When mining has negative consequences like in Mwabulambo, rural women are disproportionately affected. Despite Malawi’s Constitution recognising women’s right to equal protection and non-discrimination, they are still affected by the socio-cultural gender biases and attitudes...Their participation in community meetings about extractive activities is extremely limited; women are often excluded because of their educational abilities and strenuous daily schedules...“But when mining operations start, they are the most affected as they would have to walk longer distances to collect firewood and other livelihood necessities due to displacement and pollution of river systems.”...Ultimately, governments must adopt a community-centric approach to dealing with how women should be integrated into decision-making processes and ensure they are protected against exploitative developments by extractive companies.

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