Our first project
Heartbeat Uganda

September 2013 – Artisanal gold miners in Busitema sub-county, Eastern Uganda, face common challenges such as occupational insecurity, health problems and legal mining rights. They lack personal protection equipment which would improve their mining practices. They are now forming an umbrella association to create a collective voice for a sustainable development. Earthbeat Foundation supports the communities and their quest towards a better future and provides mining and processing equipment with the goal of producing gold in a safe and environmentally friendly way with positive social impacts.

Uganda. Busitema Sub County. Mahono Mahalabaani, is the title chosen by the gold mining community for our documentary, meaning “Struggling Hands”. In this personal cinematic portrait the men and women give us an insight into the daily struggle they face in gold mining. Our Heartbeat Uganda project supports these communities that were visited by Earthbeat Foundation in 2013 with protection and health equipment to lay the groundwork for improvement.

Nearly all of the gold miners in the Siyanyonja community lack the required formal licence that permits them to mine legally, which remains a major obstacle. Best practices in artisanal and small-scale mining, understanding the relevant mining legal framework and organisational strengthening remain critical to the sustainable development of the artisanal and small-scale gold miners in this community.

The artisanal small-scale gold miners in the specific region of Siyanyonja are in the process of forming an umbrella association which will bring together all the artisanal and small-scale miners operating in this community, providing them with a collective voice. The association, called Siyanyonja Artisan Miners Alliance, is still in its early stages but is developing quickly.

One mining group in the Amonikakine region has been informal in the past but over time has sought the means to become a formal and legal small-scale gold mining group. Their efforts have been successful: they recently applied for and acquired formal mining rights from government.