The first complete year of the Artisanal Mining and Property Rights (AMPR) project was implemented successfully. The project supports the USAID Land and Urban Office in improving land and resource governance and strengthening property rights for all members of society, especially women. It serves as USAID’s vehicle for addressing complex land and resource issues around artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) in a multidisciplinary fashion with a focus primarily on diamonds and, to a lesser extent, on gold production in the Central African Republic (CAR), as well as targeted technical assistance to other USAID Missions and Operating Units in addressing land and resource governance issues within the ASM sector. The project builds upon activities and lessons from the Property Rights and Artisanal Diamond Development (PRADD I and II) projects. The AMPR contract was signed on September 28, 2018 and will run for three base years, with the possibility of two option years.
The highlights of the year include the following:
- Start-Up: The project start-up process was effective and quite efficient thanks to the experience Tetra Tech gained from carrying out PRADD I and II in the Central African Republic. While the Chief of Party and Director of Administration and Finance did not arrive in country until January 2019 much of the programmatic and administrative groundwork was in place thanks to the experience of the core Central African staff who had been retained from PRADD II.
- Staffing Hiring: Nearly all staff were recruited and trained by the end of the work plan year. Core administrative staff are in place and fully equipped in a comfortable and safe office space. Six Community Mobilizers were hired and trained in part through assisting the project to carry out a KAP survey in the interior of the country. All but two land tenure specialists remain to be hired. Staff now all work under long-term contracts and receive a full suite of health care, life insurance, and other benefits as required under national labor law. The Chief of Party and Director of Finance and Administration each attended training in the Tetra Tech Home Office in Burlington, Vermont.
- Year I Work Plan Advancements: The vast majority of Year I work plan activities were carried out despite the challenges confronted with the US Federal Government temporary shut-down, the challenges of obtaining country registration for the project, and the many other administrative challenges of working in the country. While the project implementation team confronted some difficulties in timely delivery of select contract deliverable studies at the beginning of the project, the pace of submission of key reports improved as Year 1 progressed. Most importantly, the AMPR team was able to travel to proposed intervention sites through assessments and consultations without any security incidents. The Monitoring and Learning Plan was set up thanks to the hard work of the highly skilled MEL Specialist. The details of the advancements and challenges confronted by each component are listed below with highlights for each component summarized at the beginning of each section. Technical assistance was also provided to the USAID/Sahel Regional Mission and Burkina Faso Country Office as well as the US Embassy in Accra.
- Relations with Host Country Partners: The AMPR team placed a premium on strengthening relations of trust and confidence with its two principal government partners – the Ministry of Mines and Geology and the Ministry of Humanitarian Action and National Reconciliation. Close working relations were built with these ministries. Participation in all project activities requiring their assistance was very high. Both ministries participated actively in the preparation of the Year II Work Plan. Relations with civil society still need to be strengthened. Inter-donor coordination mechanisms were built. Support from the US Embassy in Bangui has been excellent. AMPR has also established a strong working relationship with USAID/DRC and primarily through the preparation of the annual work plan.