The PRADD II Guinea Project launch coincided with the long-delayed legislative elections in the country. These elections, held on September 28, 2013, marked the end of the transitional period for democratic governance in Guinea following the 2009 coup d’état that had previously led to the premature closure of the original PRADD project.
To design the PRADD II program in Guinea, the new project staff carried out a multi-step consultative process with the Kimberley Process tripartite stakeholders (government, civil society organizations, and the diamond industry), the private sector, and other donor-funded programs (e.g., the World Bank) by conducting a series of field assessments and consultative dialogues on the state of the artisanal diamond mining sector, with the intention of finding ways to strengthen the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme and improve the livelihoods of artisanal miners and their communities.
PRADD II worked with the Ministry of Mines and Geology to constitute an advisory team representing several ministries (Mines, Agriculture, Territorial Administration and Decentralization, Budget, and Environment) and civil society organizations (CECIDE and CENAFOD). This team was trained in participatory research methodologies long used to study artisanal diamond mining. The 15-member team traveled to Forecariah to carry out a six-day diagnostic on land tenure and artisanal diamond mining. The team interviewed a wide array of young and old men and women, itinerant diamond diggers, and local authorities. The two field teams lived in the rustic diamond mining villages in order to experience harsh local realities. At the end of the week, the team reported their findings at community gatherings, and then presented them at a multi-stakeholder workshop in Conakry. By this time, the research team had become enthusiastic champions for change thanks to this confrontation with the artisanal diamond mining sector. This later workshop fed field realities into the key programmatic recommendations made to the Government of Guinea and PRADD II.
Afterwards, the PRADD II team held internal meetings to flesh out the project design. Subsequently, consultative meetings were held between the PRADD II team and the staff of the Ministry of Mines, the Ministry of Agriculture, representatives of civil society, and the two diamond unions (CONADO and UNADOR) to discuss, modify the list of activities, and reach agreement on priorities. The draft work plan was then submitted to a validation workshop attended by the KP tripartite stakeholders, the project team, and the media. While this participatory process requires time and resources, it assured buy-in to the USAID PRADD II project.