HomeCentral AfricaArtisanal diamond mining communities get Antwerp funding

Artisanal diamond mining communities get Antwerp funding

The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) will deliver its third donation grant to the Diamond Development Initiative (DDI) in support of the DDI’s work of bringing development to artisanal diamond mining communities.

Ari Epstein, CEO of the AWDC says, “AWDC supports DDI because it is working at a primary source of the diamond pipeline, among people who are an important, but too often forgotten part of our industry.”

The DDI is a non-profit organisation that works to reduce poverty and promote sustainable development through education, policy, dialogue and projects working directly with artisanal diamond miners and their communities.

AWDC funds will complement DDI’s new Mobile Schooling project in the Democratic Republic of Congo, an important new study on artisanal and small scale miners in Tanzania and the second phase of DDI’s Ebola response in Sierra Leone.

The fact that AWDC funds are not tied to a specific project is significant. “The AWDC’s gift of untied support will continue to provide fuel for innovation within the ethical supply chain and support for core functions, without which no organisation can function,” says Dorothée Gizenga, DDI’s Executive Director.

Artisanal mining is a reality of the African minerals landscape - Photograph courtesy of SRK Consulting
Artisanal mining is a reality of the African minerals landscape. Photograph courtesy of SRK Consulting

“Grants like these make donations received from other funders go further, meaning more benefits to artisanal miners and their communities.”

The AWDC is an industry-established foundation whose mission is to serve and support the diamond business in Belgium. Its mission is twofold: strengthening Antwerp’s position as the world’s primary diamond trading centre and strengthening the image of diamonds to a general audience.

Assisting with the Kimberley Development Initiative as well

DDI also revealed late last year that it has begun coordinating the technical assistance function of the Kimberley Process thanks to the the assistance of a grant from Signet Jewelers – the largest specialty jewelry retailer in the US, UK, and Canada.

The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) is a joint government, industry and civil society initiative to stem the flow of conflict diamonds – rough diamonds used by rebel movements to finance wars against legitimate governments. The technical assistance function coordinates support among and between KPCS members in order to enhance compliance and to improve development potential in countries where diamonds are mined artisanally.

An estimated 16% of global annual rough diamond production comes from artisanal sources, involving between 1-1.5 million diggers. Some of those diamonds find their way into jewelry counters around the world.

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