When I was in Tanzania and Kenya, I met with many inspirational people from Fair Trade Africa and England who were involved in introducing fairtrade gold to small scale miners. The miners themselves were savvy and innovative people who had struggled hard to get where they are. We could all see how these small scale gold projects, if successful, could transform the small scale mining sector first in their regions and then perhaps even in their countries. Small scale mining would change from a resource curse to an incredible development initiative that could one day help improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.
Yet I also knew, from having done development work myself, that meetings were so successful precisely because Fair Trade Africa had invested so much time in the villages. It takes a long time to build trust and credibility. In an earlier post, I documented in a practical manner how the process of fairtrade gold works on the ground. Trainings, gathering, building credibility—all these things take time. We were, as visiting commercial agents, harvesting the fruit of their labors.
Tiny Mawasha was a critical part of the Tanzanian team. She grew up in a small village and through her hard work earned scholarships that lead to her becoming the first woman mineral processing engineer in Tanzania. Instead of working with large scale mining companies which would have offered her a very wealthy lifestyle, she chose to assist the miners from small villages to improve their lives.
This is the first of three short videos from a longer interview that we will be posting. Here, I explained to her, as a jeweller who already sells fair trade gold wedding and engagement rings, that I have been struggling at times to get jewelers and consumers in the US to understand the importance of fair trade gold. I asked Tina for her perspective on why we should care about Fair Trade Gold.
This actually was the last question in my interview with her. The others will follow over the next few days.