Following the successful program implementation of Gem Guide in Tanzania by GIA (Gemological Insitute of America) in collaboration with PACT, a US-based international development NGO and TAWOMA (Tanzania Women Mining Association), a policy advocate wing for women in mining in Tanzania, GIA has committed to funding the roll-out of the program to othe African countries: Zambia, Nigeria, Madagascar, and Rwanda. This announced was made by the President and CEO of GIA, Mrs. Susan Jacques, at the just concluded ICA congress 2019 that was held in Bankok, Thailand.
This is a tremendous step forward in our efforts to bring information directly to artisanal miners right at the beginning of the gem and jewelry supply chain.GIA President and CEO – Susan Jacques
GIA is targeting to reach out to about 10,000 artisanal miners by committing $1.3 million towards the second phase after successfully funding the pilot program in Tanzania for approximately $120,000.
Gem Guide program provides free educational tools and materials critical for training directly to the gemstone miners, many of them women, so that they can better understand their gems by identifying and grading them and also handle and sell them for the best prices.
GIA professionals developed the illustrated booklet, Selecting Gem Rough: A Guide for Artisanal Miners, available in English and Kiswahili which was distributed to the trained gemstone miners in Tanzania. The booklet is photo-rich with photos of the rough gemstones found in East Africa, including tourmaline, corundum, various types of garnet, topaz, spinel, zircon, and tanzanite.
Robert Weldon, the GIA director of the Richard T.Liddicoat Gemological Library and Information Center at GIA, accompanied with Marvin Wambua, a Kenyan based gem cutter a GIA Graduate Gemologist, and Norbert Massay, PACT project manager in Tanzania, trained more than 1,000 artisanal miners in Tanzania
Nigeria is known for its sapphires, Mozambique for its rubies and paraiba type tourmalines, Zambia for its emeralds and amethysts and Rwanda has recently started producing amethysts that rival Zambia’s quality.
Image and video courtesy: GIA