In the words of a village chief: Maendeleo Diamond Standards make a difference in the community

In the words of a village chief: Maendeleo Diamond Standards make a difference in the community

Chief Tamba Kono of Boroma, Sierra Leone understands mining. He has been involved in the trade since his youth. But as the local customary chief, he also understands the risks and potential benefits of mining for his community.

“Since 1960 mining has been our main livelihood. We went to school with money from mining, our houses were built from mining and we even got married with money we earned from mining. All we had and did was diamond mining, and this is still true today.

Unfortunately, mining has also brought us serious problems. There was a civil war between 1991 and 2002, fueled in part by diamonds. Our land was destroyed by warring factions because of the diamond riches.”

Chief Kono recognizes that the Maendeleo Diamond Standards are designed to enable progress and development in artisanal diamond mining communities.

“The Maendeleo Diamond Standards will ensure that our diamonds serve to develop miners and their communities, through the application of best practices. We look forward to seeing this happen, because for far too long we have been robbed of our riches.”

He also talks about the impact the Maendeleo Diamond Standards are having on the local mining operation and on his village.

“The MDS program has already helped our mining site. I saw the training they did for miners. The workers on the site are better organized now and they have logbooks and protective clothing. I have never seen this before.

There are benefits for the community too. The miners had training on community engagement and now the site owner talks to us on a regular basis to report on how he is proceeding with his work. This keeps us all in the loop. The miners are also now participating in development activities in the village.”

The Boroma mining site was certified compliant with Maendeleo Diamond Standards in May 2016. This means that the mining operations meet requirements related to health and safety, human and worker rights, the environment and community engagement. Diamonds mined at the site are now recognized as Maendeleo Diamonds, and are attractive to ethically-minded consumers. Because of this, miners and mining communities can reap the social and economic benefits from their natural resources.