AYME focuses on the issue of child mining, based on children’s rights, the International Labour Convention, as well as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Child mining is very common in Sierra Leone. It has become the source of getting quick money for daily survival and, by that, a tradition. This leads most children to put down their pen and take up the shovel. According to the latest research conducted by AYME, this is mainly the case in the artisanal mining sector, that is the diamond and gold mining industry.
With this background, AYME’s vision and mission is to work against such practices. We see child mining as an existing, serious challenge regarding the development of children in Sierra Leone as well as other African countries that possess valuable natural resources. We are aiming to address and mitigate those practices. Through working with other partners and government ministries, departments and agencies that are concerned, including local authorities, parents and small scale mining companies.
The focus of the mining industry in Sierra Leone is mainly focused on high-value minerals, such as diamonds, gold, bauxite, iron-ore, rutile and coltan. This shows that the mining of other minerals and construction minerals has historically been neglected in Western African countries, especially Sierra Leone. This creates an imbalance in revenue generation, also for the governments of the respective countries: If the prices of those high-value minerals fall, this poses an economic challenge onto the government of the depending countries.
A further topic we want to address is education: a lot of young people cannot attend school (for reasons such as child mining), which leads to even higher unemployment rates and poverty. We want to give opportunities to those without university degrees in opening up new branches in the mining industry. This will improve the local economic development, as those sources can also be used locally to build a better infrastructure.
Our goal is to approach overall social situation in African countries and increase their economic independence.
Our vision is therefore to stop illegal and legal migration by improving the economic situation of young people in Africa and primarily, for a start, in Sierra Leone.
AYME aims to protect and promote the natural environment and global commons based on the UN Agenda 21 and the Paris Agreement. AYME supports the view that one of the sectors which contribute to the environmental degradation of the West African nature is the mining industry through their engagement in deforestation and water pollution. We focus on communication with the companies and point out their impact on the environment through their mining activities. We engage with them via big-scale communication, such as radio programs, research and articles, as well as smaller-scale communication during face-to-face meetings. Further, AYME is advocating the government ministries of Sierra Leone to foster their commitment to the environmental protection, in particular by promoting the UN Agenda 21 and the Paris Agreement. The aim is to make the companies engage into a careful impact assessment prior to their start with the mining activities.
At an international level AYME advocates international development partners like the UNDP Environment and the UNEP to support African governments with the acquisition of capacities, skills and technologies.
AYME also cultivates a network with other social organisations, nationally as well as internationally, to further promote environmental protection.
AYME pushes for honesty and the rule of law in the governance of the mining industries. Our advocacy is, among others, based on the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI), the UN Guiding Principle on Business and Human Rights, the African Mining Vision and the Natural Resource Charter.
AYME encourages companies to publish their financial relations to governments and communities with which they operate. Similarly, AYME pushes governments and communities to publish what they earn and from what sources they receive money. Further we promote open contracts between governments and companies, at least in such a way that the public can access this information through legal processes. AYME contributes to this progress through communication and research.