Understanding Artisanal Mining through Participatory Diagnostics

Continuing our series on participatory approaches to stregthen land tenure programming, this week, we will share the final example from our work in Guinea.

USAID’s Property Rights and Artisanal Diamond Development (PRADD) II project in Guinea, conducted a participatory review of the artisanal diamond mining sector as part of an exercise to identify areas that may contain alluvial diamond deposits (diamonds carried downstream and deposited by rivers). The review examined mining activities and economies at the local level as well as claims to surface lands and sub-surface resources. These claims were assessed under both the formal and customary tenure regimes to identify any gaps or conflicts between the systems.

To perform the participatory review, a team from the Ministry of Mines and Geology, other government ministries, and civil society organizations were trained in rural rapid appraisal (or participatory rural appraisal) assessment tools. They adopted tools including community mapping, semi-structured interviews, and transect walks (used to create a map showing the location and distribution of resources, features, landscape, and main land uses along a given route). These participatory tools were used to collect data on diamond operations, resource rights both above and below ground, and the identity of miners and their place within the communities, among other information.

Following the participatory review, the assessment team and local stakeholders formulated pragmatic policy and program recommendations to: improve the governance of the artisanal mining sector; strengthen tenure rights; diversify and improve livelihoods; and promote environmental rehabilitation. Because the review approach involved government and civil society partners, there is now widespread support for the project activities in Guinea.

PRADD II supports the Government of Guinea in its compliance with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme—the international mechanism to halt the trafficking of conflict diamonds.

For more information on participatory approaches in land tenure and property rights programming, please visit the following commentaries: