UN WOMEN Rwanda, REWU join hands to eradicate GBV issues in Mining Sector

On 21st June and 23rd June 2022, the Rwanda Extractive Industry Workers Union (REWU) with the support from the UN WOMEN Rwanda has organized a reflection meeting on various subjects including fighting against Gender Based Violence in Mining and Quarry sector, the increment of women in Mining and quarry industry, the operationalization of ECDs and workers working conditions at the workplace, salary issues among others.

The meeting which took place in Muhanga District and Gakenke District respectively on 21st and 23rd June 2022 was held in a presence of various officials among them are district officials, owners and managers of mines and quarry companies/Cooperatives, workers representatives, heads of security organs, Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB), gender officers, good governance, Sector Executive administration, representatives of the Rwanda Mining, Petroleum and Gas Board (RMB), among others.

In Muhanga District the session was mainly focused on the presentations of GBV key issues in the mining sector, their root causes and what can be done as corrective measures. It was an interactive session where participants were able to share ideas in regards to the issue at hands.

According to Jean Claude Mpakaniye, REWU project Manager, the number of women working in mining in Rwanda is about 11% and in Africa between 10-20%, which needs to be increased to at least 30% or even higher.

Kanyarwanda Innocent, the Managing Director of Dukundane Mining Company, a mining company in Muhanga Sector, said that apparently women working in the mines are few due to lack of some facilities including lack of the place where to leave children while at work and even lack of changing rooms at workplace may hinder women participation in Mining and quarrying Industry.

The President of the National Women Council in Muhanga District, Marcelline Mukasekuru, confirms that the reason why women have not yet been able to make sense of mining is that many are afraid of it because some of their peers have done it but tarnished its image. She further added that there are still cases of Gender Based violence in the industry.

Ms. Mukasekuru said “”Some women have not been able to feel this work. But in our campaign we are urging them to try to do all the work, but they are afraid of this work because there are those who have passed through it before and tarnished its image, and there are those who have been abused and again the culture prevents them from doing Mining or hard work which is a mind-set that needs to be change,”

She continues to urge employers to employ women to at least 30% as much as in other services.

Speaking at the meeting, Mr Jean Marie Vianney Bwanakweli, the Deputy Secretary General of REWU said that women should be treated the same as men and given equal opportunity in all tasks. He confirmed that in partnership with UNICEF Rwanda they are going to launch a program that will expand ECDs at workplace so that women find a care place to leave their children while at work.

“So far, we have decided that women and men in the mining sector should be treated equally and women should be given the upper hand to help with children and not lose their jobs,” Mr. Bwanakweli said.

He reminded that “In partnership with UNICEF Rwanda, we have launched a project to build ECDs at Mining sites so that women have a decent place where the children can stay during the working hours.”

 In Gakenke District, the similar meeting was organized by the Rwanda Extractive Industry Workers Union (REWU) on Thursday 23/06/2022 in the Tantum Ergo conference room to discuss the prevention of GBV in the Mining and Quarry sector.

The meeting was officially opened by the Deputy Mayor for Social Affairs Mrs. Uwamahoro Marie Therérèse alongside with the Deputy Secretary General BWANAKWELI JMV. Participants were asked to play a role in preventing and combating sexual violence in the Mine and Quarry sector. 

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