Maendeleo Diamond Standards

Maendeleo Diamond Standards address the mode of production and the socio-economic context of the artisanal and small-scale diamond-mining sector in Kimberley Process-approved zones. 

The MDS certification system is a unique effort to support artisanal diamond miners and their communities and to ensure their inclusion in the broader process of responsible supply chains. Maendeleo is a Swahili word meaning “development” and “progress.”

Maendeleo Diamonds are diamonds that are artisanally mined in conflict-free zones and produced safely in consenting and engaged communities through violence-free operations with respect for human and worker rights using practices that promote environmental responsibility.


The MDS certification system contributes to the formalization of the artisanal diamond mining sector by supporting the legalization of mining operations and adherence to requirements pertaining to human rights, health and safety, and environmental sustainability.

Integrated into all aspects of mining operations, the Standards contribute to the improvement of the socio-economic conditions of artisanal miners, the most vulnerable actors in the diamond supply chain. In addition, the MDS system opens access to international markets and fair pricing for diamonds.

As artisanally-mined diamonds become part of the formal economy, they are traceable and taxable by the local government. And by ensuring fair treatment for artisanal miners, their communities and the environment, the Maendeleo Diamond Standards (MDS) respond to consumer demand for ethical jewelry and the industry’s need for responsibly-mined diamonds.


Stages in MDS Certification:

  1. Mobilization for enrolment in the MDS program
  2. Training on the standards, health and safety, first aid, and SMARTER mining techniques
  3. Implementation of standards and ongoing mentoring and support
  4. Audit of mining operations by independent 3rd party
  5. Certification of operations as MDS compliant
  6. Certification of achievement for miners
  7. Certification of authenticity of Maendeleo Diamonds.

Diamonds that are produced by certified operations are Maendeleo Diamonds, and can be sold through responsible supply chains as an ethical choice for conscientious consumers and a generator of economic benefit to miners and their communities. Miners who produce diamonds receive an achievement certification that encourages the maintenance of best practices.


MDS program, Sierra Leone, 2017 -