Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM) in the Great Lakes Region (GLR) often suffers from poor levels of organization, representation and institutional capacity.

Artisanal miners are required to be organized into cooperatives however these often end up being business units or groups of traders with little actual representation of the miners themselves in any decision-making processes. These often differ from general concepts of cooperatives and may deliver only limited, if any, dividends and benefits for their members.

Understanding of the legal requirements of cooperatives’ operations is often at a low level, as is capacity to take full advantage of business opportunities.

In all countries of the GLR, miners themselves are generally poorly represented in forums and consultations and face challenges in exercising their rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining. Some miners’ associations exist to group miners together to give them a higher degree of visibility and representation but these need support to strengthen their activities.

In some areas, miners have limited ability to engage in policy dialogue and effort to express their opinion is often restricted to public demonstration which, regrettably, often ends in violence.