Black in Jewelry Coalition and USAID’s Zahabu Safi (Clean Gold) Project Connect Women in the Jewelry Industry with Artisanal Gold Miners

New York, NY – March 31, 2021 – The Black in Jewelry Coalition (BIJC) and USAID’s Zahabu Safi (Clean Gold) Project will hold a unique fireside chat webinar, “Sister to Sister: Creating relationships to support responsible sourcing of artisanal gold from Africa.” This virtual event, which will be held Wednesday, April 14, at 10am ET, will provide a space for panelists and participants to exchange information about their respective businesses and discuss opportunities for success. Participants of the webinar will learn how to responsibly source artisanal gold directly from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“From miner to jewelry designer, Black voices, especially Black female voices, are often overlooked, undervalued, or ignored,” said Nikki Duncan, Chief of Party, USAID’s Zahabu Safi Project. “Through this virtual conversation, we hope to facilitate both the professional and commercial connections, which will advance our collective interests to promote equity and inclusion along the supply chain and help improve the lives of Black women working in mining in eastern DRC.”

Featured panelists include:

Dr. Njanju Namazuba Zouzou, President of the Mineral Cooperative of Ukingo (Luhihi, South Kivu, DRC)

Huguette Kaleba Ngoie Kasongo, co-founder of SOGECOMI, a social enterprise whose goal is to improve the lives and wellbeing of mining communities in DRC through responsible sourcing and exporting of minerals 

Ella Mindja, Zahabu Safi Project Officer and Community Liaison

The session will be moderated by BIJC’s:  Lotanna Amina Egwatu, Creative Director and Principal at Mina Stones, and Patricia Mweene, Founder and Creative Director, INONGE ZITA Jewellery/Gemstone Value Chain Specialist

The  event aims to provide an opportunity for members of the jewelry industry to gain insight from women working on the front lines of the supply chain and to address the challenges faced by their sisters working further downstream in the supply chain. By hearing first-hand experiences about the ongoing battle for security, equity, and inclusion by artisanal miners in the DRC, participants will gain a fundamental understanding of how sourcing responsibly from eastern DRC can help alleviate these challenges.

“BIJC is honored to collaborate with USAID’s Zahabu Safi Project to provide a webinar where the industry can hear about the journey, challenges, and success of Black women working in mining in DRC. Hearing the stories of our panelists will promote  a better understanding of the mining process as well as the importance to source artisanal gold in a responsible way,” said Annie Doresca, Board President, Black in Jewelry Coalition.

This free event is available to all. For more information and to register, visit https://blackinjewelry.org/events/.

About BIJC

Black In Jewelry Coalition (BIJC) was founded in October 2020 and is the first non-profit international membership organization dedicated to the advancement of Black professionals in the gem, jewelry, and watch industry. BIJC has a particular interest in supporting social justice and human rights for miners, with a particular affinity toward supporting responsible sourcing and human rights in supply chains originating from Africa.

USAID’s Zahabu Safi (Clean Gold) Project, is made possible due to the support of the American people through The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Global Communities in partnership with Levin Sources. The economic development initiative aims to establish a commercially viable, conflict-free artisanal and small-scale mining gold supply chain in eastern DRC. The project also contributes to the broader U.S. Government goal of reducing instability in the DRC—which has more than 1,100 minerals worth nearly $24 trillion—by linking artisanal miners to responsible gold buyers in international markets to increase their commercial opportunities.

Contacts:  Nellie Barnet, BIJC Chair of Communications info@Blackinjewelry.org, or Nikki Duncan, Chief of Party, USAID’s Zahabu Safi Project nduncan@globalcommunities.org