Moyo Gems Program
- Posted on 11.02.23
Navigating the mining world and finding ethical sources is a continuous journey for WWAKE. Recently, we’ve had the opportunity to work with a new artisanal and small-scale mining program, Moyo Gems.
Moyo Gems was founded in 2019 in Tanzania as an alternative to the typical gem supply chain. The groundwork for this initiative began in 2016 when the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) approached the international nonprofit organization Pact to create a pilot program that focused on gem education for the miners. With collaborative help from the Tanzania Women Miners Association (TAWOMA), the pilot program was a success, which led to an independent program being established - Moyo Gems. Women miners in the program are more educated and empowered within the gemstone market, leading them to make higher profits from their labor.
Traditionally, the supply chain begins with the miners but gets over saturated with brokers and traders before the buyers even touch the stones. This process disregards and distances the miners, who usually only make 15-20% of the final sale.
Moyo Gems’ focus is on responsible miner-to-market gemstone collaboration. They educate their miners on health, personal safety, mining operations, and gem identification in order to empower miners and cut down the supply chain. Through their program, miners are able to find local brokers that they trust, be present at buyers’ markets, and make 95% of the final sale.
Moyo Gems has been a collaborative program since its inception. It is free for miners to sign up, and the program makes sure that all the miners are legally registered to work, allotting them more safety and on-site rights.
This foundation of safety and education provides their women miners with more financial stability and support for long-term goals. In fact, miners who are a part of Moyo Gems, on average, earn 3-5 times more due to their knowledge of gemstones.
The Moyo Gems program understands the importance of progressively improving conditions over time. They are continuing to partner with different engineering services to improve the health and safety of mining sites. Their support from the Government of Tanzania and the County Government of Taita Taveta (Kenya) has helped them to share their knowledge and program with other artisanal and small-scale mining communities.
It is important that these women be recognized for their labor and skills that make our jewelry possible.
Our stunning collection of garnets are sourced from Tanzanian women miners from Moyo Gems. The women also responsibly mine rubies, sapphires, tourmalines, garnets, citrines, and amethysts through the program. We look forward to our continued work with the miners from Moyo Gems and discovering new, traceable gemstones to be a part of our creations.
Moyo means 'heart' in Kiswahili, the dominant language in Tanzania and Kenya. A lot of heart went into these gems.