Looking back over 2017

Looking back over 2017

Surprises. Challenges. Successes. In 2017, the Diamond Development Initiative experienced a wide range of activities and outcomes. These are some of the highlights.

Launch of MRU cross-border initiative
The open borders of the Mano River Union region of West Africa make it very hard to control the transit of diamonds. DDI is involved in a new anti-smuggling project that focuses on reinforcing controls in border communities to ensure KP compliance.

Legalization of miners’ cooperatives
The process from mobilizing miners, to forming associations, to obtaining licenses at the provincial and national levels can be complicated. In 2017, DDI saw nine of ten miners’ cooperatives in DRC complete the legalization process so they can now move forward with mining zone permits.

Diamond valuation training in Antwerp
DDI, along with the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), offered a 2-week course in rough diamond valuation to representatives of four diamond-producing African countries, improving their ability to implement Kimberley Process (KP) procedures at the point of export.

Sale of Maendeleo Diamonds
The Belgian group Cap Source purchased ethically-produced Maendeleo diamonds from artisanal mines in Sierra Leone which are part of DDI’s Maendeleo Diamond Standards program. The diamonds were cut, polished, and set into rings as part of the My Fair Diamond jewelry collection. Ethical diamonds from artisanal operations have now reached the international market.

Environmental remediation of mining sites
Because environmental damage is a major risk of artisanal mining, the Maendeleo Diamond Standards program includes training for environmentally sustainable mining techniques and provisions for site closures. In 2017, DDI supported the rehabilitation of several previously mined sites.

Mobile school graduates
DDI was thrilled to see 117 students from its Mobile School Program in the DRC pass their national exams, and graduate from elementary school. The follow-up High School Support Program ensures that these students have the opportunity to pursue their education rather than work in the mines.

DDI’s 10th anniversary
The year 2018 marks DDI’s 10th anniversary. To stay informed about special anniversary events as well as the ongoing impact of DDI’s programs, be sure to sign up for DDIscourse, our quarterly newsletter, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.