Amplifying a Unified Voice for Women
The Responsible Jewelry Transformative (RJT) mission is to facilitate equity, transparency, and knowledge throughout the jewelry industry supply chain and elevate voices in the mining community through action, initiatives, and education. The RJT has achieved this mission through it’s annual conference and international programs. The conference is globally recognized and attended by jewelry companies, governments, civil society and NGOs. Initiatives such as the Marange Women’s Alliance (MWA) are born out of the conference. Virtu Gem is an initiative of RJT which has received two World Bank grants operating in Kenya, Malawi and Zambia. The RJT ran several successful safety equipment drives to benefit women mining associations in Kenya and Tanzania. The RJT worked with Rotary Club International to raise money for a pilot mining camp and water reclamation project in Kenya.
The MWA is a community based organization supported by the RJT. The support of the MWA is important because the women living in and around the Marange Diamond Fields exemplify the generational effects of depletion of economic benefit, loss of environment, land rights and human rights as a direct result of diamond mining. In 2008 residents in Marange experienced a traumatic attack which led to continued human rights abuses in direct contradiction to the Zimbabwe Constitution, loss of traditional livelihoods and disintegration of family structures. Since 2008 the long systemic gendered human rights abuses has left the burden of family sustainability on women. Women living in the Marange Diamond Fields are in desperate need of tools and support that empower them to succeed.
The Marange Women’s Alliance is a grassroots movement to prevent human rights abuses by providing education, self-empowering support and by raising awareness in the international community.
Our vision is that all women and children of Marange are able to live safely and move freely in the region without fear, intimidation, and political pressure. We believe that all of Marange’s citizens should have access to water, medical services, and constitutional human rights.
"I would like to thank Marange Women's Alliance group for their support. They have provided me with transport, photocopying, money, lunch and moral support because doing it all alone I could not make it. I really appreciate the great work MWA is doing."
In 2021, the RJT formalized the MWA, working with women leaders in the community of Marange, Zimbabwe to form mission and vision statements, create a recognizable brand with logos, build organizational infrastructure, and bring technology including computers and data credits to the group. This support together with the combined inspirational bravery, agile ideas, and qualified expertise the women encompass has enabled the MWA to accomplish in just six months, what other NGOs had yet to succeed in previously, direct community engagement in Marange. Now the MWA is a group of over 50 women strong. It is this unique and powerful alliance that has the ability to raise up the women in Marange. The MWA embraces the most vulnerable women, empowers them with knowledge of their human rights, and gives them fellowship, connecting them to a broader community of women outside of their own village.
Marange Women's Alliance focuses on the residents of Chiadzwa and Mukwada wards, in Manicaland Province, Zimbabwe, referred to as the Marange Diamond Fields. There are an estimated 176 villages in these two wards, with an estimated 20,000 people according to a Human Rights Watch 2009 article.
MWA’s work is to benefit women and when women benefit the whole community shares in these benefits.
"I went to Billian after being referred by the chairperson relative mentioning the work that Marange Women's Alliance group is doing to help women and children in the community.
After talking to Billy they tried engagement with her son so she was then referred to Bambazonke police station, then civil court where she had to visit for 2 days then had to submit papers to the Mutare Rural so that they could serve to the accused who lives in Harare. She was supposed to sleep at Musasa shelter in Chikanga but then went to her friend in Sakubva.
When she went back to Bocha she updated Billian what had taken place and she promised to support. She had no peace as the accused had stopped her from doing everything at home thus losing maize crops in her garden to goats grazing. The accused was claiming that nothing was going to happen to him because of his political muscle but he was stopped by the courts.
Any disturbances she is supposed to report to the police. She has been granted a protection order and she is very grateful with the judgment and the support from MWA"
MWA creates nurturing, gender inclusive spaces on WhatsApp for women to communicate. These spaces provide avenues for education, fellowship and human rights reporting. Through the MWA group chats women report GBV and areas where individuals in distress need care and interventions. The Tuesday Talks are also facilitated through WhatsApp, where experts address the community on relevant topics. Ideas for events and further programing all originate in these group chats. Without the monthly data credits supported through the RJT this communication would be financially unattainable for many women and they would remain isolated from peers outside of their immediate village.
Court advocacy is an important part of the MWA mission, it aids in expanding access to justice. MWA court advocates accompany victims to court, provide transportation, lunch, and give emotional support. Victims are often alone in their battles, cannot afford the transportation to court and don't have the will and strength to go it alone. MWA shines when it comes to nurturing kindness and that is something that is in great need for gender based violence victims living in Marange.
MWA was born from the act of women speaking out to an international audience on the existing human rights abuses happening in their community. MWA remains the only true voice for reporting within the Marange. Billian Matambo the Chairwoman of MWA is a trained para legal with over 7 years of experience reporting human rights incidents in Marange to the Kimberly Process Civil Society representative organization, Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELLA). The RJT sponsored Billian to attend a workshop with Jo Becker of Human Rights Watch to further align our work with international standards in reporting. Listening woman to woman and documenting the stories that need to be told are the core of MWA work.
MWA launched with its first event, that included a community clean up and human rights awareness at Tenda Business Centre in Chiadzwa.
Held a breast cancer awareness event that included human rights education at Mweyamutsvene high school Murai village.
Members attended a bail hearing in support of arrested Chiadzwa traditional leaders who were protesting against treatment of locals by Anjin diamond mining company. Amongst them were three women.
Attended both hearings for the court case of the arrested Chiaadzwa traditional leadership.
MWA delivered a care package for Miss Linah, a young mother who lost all her belongings in a GBV induced arson caused by her estranged husband.
Three MWA members participated at the RJT conference.
CBO REGISTRATION with signing ceremony.
MWA attend court case in support of a 15 year old girl who was impregnated by a 49 year old neighbor.
MWA started weekly Tuesday Talks, examples of recent topics are: Children’s Rights facilitated by John Mhlanga, Programs Manager at Justice for Children, Women's Rights facilitated by Gladys Balance, Lecturer and Researcher MSU Zimbabwe, and Home Based Palliative Care by rural women, facilitated by the Programs Manager Justice Code Foundation.
My vision is to see MWA members growing into vibrant open minded women who know their constitutional rights. Women who can strongly stand up and firmly say NO to any form of injustice and abuse.
My vision is to see MWA spearheading the eradication of child marriages which are rampant and common in Marange due to religious beliefs. This can be achieved by making sure girls have equal access to education.
My vision for the MWA is to continue breaking ground in eradicating marginalisation of women, GBV and poverty through empowering women.
My expectations for MWA are that as an organisation, we hold several awareness campaigns in support of the girl child and especially girls from Mafararikwa and Marange where child marriages are very prominent.
My desire for MWA is to learn more about women's issues and rights and also be able to come up with sustainable self help projects such as pig or chicken rearing in our respective villages.
MWA grew its membership from just a few women to over 50 since starting May 2021. MWA projects touch many
The MWA is strategically poised to make a great impact on women’s lives in the Marange diamond mining concession and have already successfully carried out events in the past. With funding, their impact can be made greater.
MWA is a Commitment Maker for the Action Coalition for global gender equality by the UN Women. MWA will align our systematic data collection, analysis and reporting of sex, age and disability-disaggregated data to fit the reporting methodology of the UN Women.
You can make a difference in the lives of the Marange Community. Donate to the Launch Event of the Marange Women's Alliance (MWA). The Responsible Jewelry Transformative (a non profit) is working with the MWA to create positive change now. Women living in the Marange diamond community are stepping out into the open for a Market Clean up Event.
They are bringing brooms and compassion to the most marginalized community members. Many Human Rights abuses are happening daily at this market, often at the hands of those associated with diamond mining. The MWA will engage victims of human trafficking who frequent the market offering them snacks, beverages and the opportunity to document their stories. Flyers with the Zimbabwe constitutional rights will be handed out in English and Shona for all to keep. The women will sweep and pick up trash, community clean up is an initiative that gathers people together improving conditions, giving pride in community and hope for the future.
Please take a minute to sign the petition below to the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company calling for a stop to alleged abuse against women in the Marange Community.
The Marange Women's Alliance has acquired a permit to carry out this event from the local police, Saturday September 11th.
T-shirts 32×$8 =$256 There is power in visibility and numbers the women will wear their t-shirts with MWA logo
Transport to and from the venue for all the members 32×$10 =$320 (There are no cars or public transportation)
Masks 2 boxes $5 - Keeping volunteers and community members safe during Covid
Refreshments and snacks $35 - Fosters trust good will and engagement
Registration forms printing $5- Attendance creates data of impact and build membership
Stand up Banner $150 - A visual statement of awareness for the Marange Women's Alliance
A photographer $400 - To document the event and continue outreach internationally through photo narrative
Iphone 7 used $250 -To take video testimonial and communicate on social media.
Dust Bins $5
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