In 2016, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) approached the international nonprofit organization Pact with a simple question: Could providing a basic gemstone education to those who mine them make a difference? Pact has unique expertise with artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) communities, and knew the answer to the question was 'YES'. A pilot project began with GIA trainers, Pact staff, and an organization with which Pact was familiar: the Tanzania Women Miners Association (TAWOMA).
The gemstone education pilot project took place in Tanga province, Tanzania, where TAWOMA had an active chapter of gem miners eager to learn new skills. The pilot project was a runaway success, assisting the women miners to get between 3-5 times what they were earning before on their stones thanks to this new knowledge. Yet, the miners were still selling on a subsistence basis because of the asymmetric structure of the gem market.
ANZA Gems, Nineteen48, and Pact met at the Chicago Responsible Jewelry Conference in 2017 and decided that -- together-- they could create something new. Everledger, an emerging technology enterprise, then joined the group bringing its expertise in digital provenance traceability to the program. A few months later, in 2018, the group visited the women miners in Tanga to propose the basic idea, solicit interest, and co-design the project with the miners themselves, with the leadership of TAWOMA, and with key local leaders.
In 2019, Moyo Gems launched in Tanzania. It has been featured in British Vogue Magazine, the Financial Times, Scottish Sunday Post, National Jeweller, JCK Magazine, among others.
In 2021, Pact teamed up with the Association of Women in Extractive Industries in Kenya (AWEIK) and the County Government of Taita Taveta in Kenya, to expand Moyo Gems to Kenya, with the generous funding of The World Bank's EGPS Fund. We hope to begin trainings and exports in 2022. We are also expanding to a new region in Tanzania... more information coming soon!
Now we need you. Support this program with your passion and your purchase. To help beautify this sector, we all have a role to play... Will you join us?