Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) has huge economic prospects but is mainly considered illegal in East Africa. Capacity building efforts can stimulate successful formalization in the ASM sector if training programs promote best practices and focus on practical topics related to mining. Education in mining and mineral processing will lead to further reduction of negative environmental impacts caused by mining methods such as land degradation, clearing of forests, dredging of rivers or the use of toxic chemicals. Arising from this scenario, UNESCO took the initiative to involve stakeholders to develop an education program for artisanal and small-scale miners (ASM) in East Africa based on a framework formulated policy. The formulated policy recommends the creation of a formal curriculum for university certificate, diploma and degree programs and non-formal programs for practicing minors in the ASM sector.
South Sudan, a member of the East African Community (EAC), has been instrumental in shaping programs and policy guidance. Although it is a major oil producer, the country is also said to have significant mineral resources such as gold, copper, diamonds, limestone, etc. The government believes that South Sudan has yet to fully discover its geological mineral resources which can boost economic growth and prosperity. local communities. In seeking to develop the mining sector, the government recognizes that the formalization of the mining / mineral sector will ensure that mining operations are conducted in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.
In this context, a two-day consultative workshop was organized to validate the content of the ASM guidelines and study programs for East Africa and explore possibilities of adapting them to the context of South Sudan. The workshop was held from 6 to 7 December 2021 in Juba thanks to a collaboration between the UNESCO offices in Nairobi and Juba and the Ministry of Mines of South Sudan.
At the opening of the workshop, Mr. Julius Banda, UNESCO Representative in South Sudan, welcomed the participants and stressed the importance of managing ASM as a reduction strategy. poverty and economic and investment prospects for South Sudan.
In his presentation, the Honorable John Agany Deng, Member of the Revitalized Transitional National Assembly (TNLA) said that “South Sudan is one of the richest countries in natural resources, especially minerals, petroleum , water, animals and land. However, its management is a challenge to derive maximum benefits from it and it is therefore crucial that the capacity of South Sudan is strengthened to mobilize these resources in an environmentally friendly manner ”. Representing the former Committee on Education, Science, Research and Technology, he further reaffirmed that members of the parliamentary committee would continue to advocate before the assembly for the allocation of national resources to support technical and vocational education and training (TVET).
The Honorable Dr. Andu Ezbon Adde, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Mines, in his opening remarks, mentioned that the policy guidelines and the proposed curriculum developed for East Africa are essential for strengthening the mining policy and strategy in South Sudan.
During the technical session, Mr. Samuel Partey, UNESCO Scientific Program Specialist from the Nairobi office, presented the draft guidelines and curriculum for ASM in East Africa. Participants from various institutions in South Sudan discussed the documents and proposed a roadmap for future development. The roadmap proposes a review of South Sudan’s mining policy and strategy and the development of an ASM curriculum. The new competency-based curriculum is to be developed with reference to the East African regional ASM program at the non-formal and formal levels. The non-formal study program will be from level 1 to 5, while the formal study program will be developed from level 6 to 10 covering degree courses. A working group will be set up to ensure the implementation of the roadmap.