Mine The Gap

Mine the Gap is a project founded in 2018 by a group of students from Université de Genève, in order to seek bottom-up solutions and alternatives for local communities affected by mining activities, especially sand and gravel, through knowledge transfer.


University of Geneva – Master in Innovation, Human Development and Sustainability

Team Members: Afroditi Anastasaki, Damla Demirgöz, Hussein Dib, Nina Quintas, Ye Seong Shin

  Our innovation project aims at first to analyse the similarities among different communities/countries affected by mining activities. Our team aims to understand the causes and circumstances that triggered communities to work on extracting/mining activities, either legally or illegally. In that way, through mapping and case studies, we hope to find particular problems that are common among those different communities across the globe and that foster this kind of activity.

  We plan to make interviews with different actors in Geneva that have an active role in those countries and obtain consistent information and data. By doing so, we hope to develop a model that could be implemented from the local to the global scale, which would help to understand better the different realities and develop consistent policies in the local and global scale.

  We also aim to study the alternative activities to mining, that could promote
socioeconomic development, taking into account the local opportunities and
characteristics. Terre des Hommes, for example, developed an amazing work in the Peruvian amazon, having in mind the potential of cocoa plantation as an alternative to gold mining. Other alternative activities to mining can include Fab Lab, self-empowerment projects, people-initiatives etc., always fostering the local activities and taking into account their needs, expectations and potentials.

  To finish, we also hope to facilitate the communication between those communities in the global level and promote international collaborations (e.g. fair trade), so that local communities can have better alternatives to mining.

Friday, October 26 2018

During second week's working sessions, we did a serious brain storm and try to better understand what strategy we will use to compare different communities affected by mining.

We decided to have an approach based on the Drivers (the reasons that lead a community to work on mining) and the Impacts (the consequences that mining has on the community). By analyzing the Drivers and Impacts of different communities, we expect to find similarities on the reasons and consequences, which would justify then an integrated approach when thinking about sustainable solutions.

A second part of our project deals with communication channels among the communities, as a way to empower the locals and unify their efforts and transfer solutions easily. We though that linking and comparing two communities that are geographical close to each other would be much easier, having in account the language and cultural similarities. Still, we find big limitations when trying to locate communities that have some kind of alternative livelihoods' projects in the same country. For that week, we left the topic open to further research and analysis.

Saturday, November 10 2018

We have been doing pitches each workshop sessions this week and we tried to visualise our project for the pitches. 

In the second picture, you can see a scheme of our steps.

In that scheme, the first step is mapping communities around the globe that are affected by mining activities in general (sand, coal,gold,etc).

The second step is picking communities affected by mining that already have some kind of alternative livelihoods to mining or best practices on the mining industry. We would proceed with a study on the drivers and impacts in those communities, but also analyse how the "solutions" implemented on those communities played out. In this step, we will also pick a community affected by sand mining that currently has no alternalitve or best practice being implemented, also analysing the drivers and impacts. We hope to find in this step similarities among those communities on the drivers and impacts.

The idea, on the third step, is to proceed with knowledge transfer, accelerating the process of approaching a new community to propose solutions to the mining impacts.

Once we can make that transfer, on the fourth step, we would have a community, that was once left-behind, with a proposal for alternative livelihoods or best practices, based on the experiences of other similar communities spread across the globe.

Once we have this knowledge transfer, we will "put" a new point on the global map: a community that has alternatives to sand mining being implemented, serving then as an example to other communities, promoting a richer and complete knowledge transfer.

As you could see, that is an iterative process and we hope that with this approach, we can facilitate the integration of those communities and accelerate the work of institutions and organizations when they first arrive in a community.

Saturday, November 10 2018

We met with Ruta Nimkar from Terre Des Hommes to learn more about mining industry and its effect on the society. 

We received great ideas from Ruta. One of the ideas was focusing on the societies from same countries affected from mining activities. 

Saturday, November 10 2018

After Tanya Petersen's presentation on Communication Strategy Planning, we came up with this to see our strategy in more clear way:


What are your objectives?

- Alternative livelihoods for people affected by extractive industries through community-based approaches and interconnections among them for their empowerment at global level.

- Create awareness on the situation of mining communities


What are your communications objectives?

-Rise awareness about the similarities on the drivers and impacts

-Explaining how this is going to beneficial for others. What should they care?

Telling locals that they are going to benefit at the end

- Different target audiences-objectives for communicating the project

  • Fundraising-IOs

  • Local communities


Who do you need to communicate to? (who can get you what you want?)

- NGOs (Terre des Hommes, IOs in local communities)

- Individual consultants

- International Organizations

- Local communities

- Local academia (local schools and universities for cooperation)


What do you want/need them to do?

-Create a global network that can enable exchanges among communities affected by mining activities and the organizations that work on those communities.

-Adopting a set of alternative livelihoods through collaborations


Key messages (what do you need to say to them, what do they need to know and feel in order to them to do what you need them to?

-Since we do not have so much data on sand mining, this project will to a quick transition for alternative livelihoods or best practices

-To the local community: benefits of having alternative work opportunities (“you will still have a job with better conditions”)

-Transfer the message of “we care about your life, which is why we’re doing it to assist your wellbeing”


Channels (how are you going to reach them)

- Social media

- Networks of professors

- Local leaders on the communities



18th of October - 14th of December


Thursday, November 15 2018


Research Strategy on Case Studies

  1. Find a community (location, demographics, income, important local actors)

  2. There is an “organization” working in that community (Explain alternative livelihoods/best practices)

  3. Drivers that lead the community to work on mining

  4. Impacts that mining has on the community (environmental degradation, negative social impacts)

  5. Potential/opportunities based on local characteristics (ex. handicrafts, agriculture, etc.)

  6. Who are involved on the local mining (artisanal, industry, profiles of workers - age, academic background)




Thursday, November 15 2018

Research Strategy and Structure on Case Studies

1 - Find a community to case study

Information about demographic and socio economic factors.

This includes location, population, gender, education, income, employment, health, access to basic services, type of population (urban, semi-urban, rural), type of mining implemented in community (artisanal/industrial), etc.

2 -  Regional and national context regarding mining activities

Ex: representation in regional/national income and/or GDP. Percentage of total population employed in mining activities, government position on the issue, etc.

3 - Drivers
Which are the main reasons that lead the community to work in mining?

Ex: poverty, unemployment, rapid population growth, lack of education, main source of income, etc.

4 - Impacts

Which are the impacts that mining activities have on the local community and environment? Social, environmental and economic externalities.

Ex: environmental degradation, labor precarization, organized crime, etc.

5 - Description of actors involved in mining activities

Who are they (national/international companies, governments, etc.)? Which is their role? Local community is involved in the mining activities? How much income do they earn? Which are the working conditions? Profile of workers?

6 - Information about projects being implemented in order to promote alternative livelihoods to local communities and/or best mining practices and/or stop mining activities

Which are the objectives of the project? Which are the actors involved in this projects? (NGOs, social organizations, governments, international organizations, civil society, etc) In what does the project consists? Which are the methods and/or actions undertaken for implementation? Which are the resources necessary for implementation?

7 - Opportunities

Which are the identified opportunities that made this project feasible to implement?

Ex: weather conditions are suitable for agriculture, mobilized society, presence of active NGOs in field, possible partnerships, tourism promotion, etc.

8 - Problems/Threatens/Restrictions

Could we identify any restrictions/problems and/or threaten for the implementation of solutions? Ex: political interference, coercion, lack of resources, lack of connectivity, lack of education in population, climate, etc.


Thursday, November 15 2018

We searched for different communities negatively affected from different kind of mining activities. 

As a result we found communities in Peru, Vietnam, Botswana, Ghana, and Sri Lanka affected from gold mining and sand mining. 

We focused on factors to compare with each other such as: Number of population, Legal status of mining activities, economic and employment dimension, organizations involved, drivers, opportunities and limitants, type of alternatives to mining or best practices

Following our communication Strategy, we have send emails to different representers from different organizations. 

We are trying to reach out Cooperativa Agrobosque, Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining, AngloGold Ashanti Goldfields Limited, Sumaira Abdulali, Environmental Foundation Limited, NewWwater, Tree Aid. 

We want to learn about situations of the communities and mining industry and affects of the mining activities as well as their experiences on alternatives and best practices. 

Since we completed our case study research on local communities, we decided to move forward in our project. 

As a next step, 

 We are creating a basic map which shows communities which affected from mining activities. The map has two different kind of communities. One: Communites which has alternatives or best practices. Second: Communites without any alternatives and best practices. Our aims is help organizations to find other communities and organizations with alternatives and and share knowledge with each other. 

Friday, November 30 2018

Since we completed our case study research on local communities, we decided to move forward in our project. 

As a next step,

We want to come up with a short video. For this video, our aim is to reach representatives from organizations who worked on the field to help communities which get affected from mining activities, and hear from them about the situation in these communities and mining industry. Also, we want to hear more about alternatives or best practices. 

Friday, November 30 2018

Since we completed our case study research on local communities, we decided to move forward in our project. 

As a next step, we want to develop a coincidence rate: a tool to understand the level of similar realities communities affected by mining activities could have between them. This is important in order to being able to manage the knowledge transfer in a more effective and efficient way.

The purpose of this is to have an integral analysis, involving multiple variables (this being drivers and impacts which mining communities face in they day to day life) to have a global understanding of the problem and also the solutions implemented throughout the world.

Friday, November 30 2018

Since we completed our case study research on local communities, we decided to move forward in our project. 

As a next step,

We want to come up with a training manual as an end product. With this manual we will be able to spread our project to different organizations. They will be able to learn about our project, practically use it on the ground and reach to other organizations around the world.

Friday, November 30 2018

Currently, we are learning how to use/create maps using google. 

We started with marking the areas that affected from mining activities (It can be gold, iron, sand). 

Blue Dots shows the communities with better alternatives to mining to help communities in terms of well being and economy.

Red Dots shows the communities without alternatives or best practices in their mining communities. 

We are adding photographs from the communities.

Most importantly, for every dot/community we put informations such as type of the mining, legal status of mining activity, summary of the situation, and organizations involves in the area as well as their communication informations. 

Friday, November 30 2018

This is the draft design verison of our brochure.

Wednesday, December 5 2018

Since this is our prototype, we have decided to present this with 10 example. 5 blue dots for communities with alternatives and 5 red dots for communities without alternatives.

The final version of the map includes

- the type of mining

- organizations involved and their contact information

- a summary of the situation in these communities

-  alternatives and limitations for the implementation of alternatives

What we aim is trough knowledge transfer, these red dots will become blue dots eventually. 

Thursday, December 6 2018

As next step we combine different videos from different local actors. Trough this video we are able to listen local people's stories and situations by themselves. 

Since the video file is big, we were not able to upload the video here. 

So this is the link to watch the video: https://drive.google.com/file/d/110jm9cSakE6HyB5HbYImAgPFWS2HWK8F/view?usp=sharing

Thursday, December 6 2018

After many discussion, we have changed the content and styling of the document little bit. 

Thursday, December 6 2018

On December 7th, 2018,as Mine the Gap presented we presented our project to an audience which consist of professors, representers from IOs, and NGOs, individual consultants. 

We received many positive feedbacks after the pitch session and in the future there is hope that our ideas can be implemented in the field if we can manage to do reality check. 

The final version of the pitch PPT can be accessed through the following link, since it was not possible for us to upload it due to its large size:


Thursday, December 13 2018

As our final document, we present you Mine the Gap Training Manual 2018. This training manual design to help local organizations to find and implement alternative livelihoods to the mining sector by using global knowledge transfer. 

Thursday, December 13 2018

Poster has been created to assist readers' understanding of the overview of our project.

Friday, December 14 2018

Final version of the Coincidence Rate has been devised, which can be found as an attached file.

Sunday, December 16 2018

Although our group did an extensive research on case studies, we have devised a short but to-the-point version of countries, that have the most data available. Some of the countries lack of data have been not mentioned in the attached document.

Sunday, December 16 2018

Local survey about mining communities is a bottom-up data collection instrument designed for actors, who are willing to take actions in improving local people’s lives affected by sand and other mining industries. For instance, these actors include local leaders, academia, NGOs, individual consultants, IOs, and so forth. The purpose of this local survey is to figure out what the local people’s needs, circumstantial situations and aspirations are. On the basis of results obtained from this, it is expected that calculation of the Coincidence Rate, and planning Alternative Livelihoods and Best Sustainable Mining Practices can be improved on a practical level. This assessment tool is a mixture of qualitative and quantitative research methods, used for interviewing local people in communities.


Sunday, December 16 2018

The Local Assessment for Mining Communities is a data collection instrument designed exclusively to be implemented at ground level in communities affected by mining activities.

The main objectives of this instrument are to establish dialogue with local community, get a deep understanding of the problem, and perceptions of the community regarding possible solutions and alternatives in order to better design bottom-up policy implementation at ground level.

The instrument is designed to be implemented in any mining affected community in order to get a global understanding of the issue and be able to establish comparisons analysis among communities spread worldwide.

It is divided in 11 sections and has a maximum of 76 questions, depending on the answers given by the respondent.

Sunday, December 16 2018

In order to monitor and evaluate results obtained from Coincidence Rate and Local Survey, we have to develop certain indicators that will serve as a means of verification and reliability of the data collected.


Sunday, December 16 2018

In an attached file, our final version of four indicators have been elaborated in detail. With this tool, assessments of Coincidence Rate and Local Survey can be improved while taking into account of region-specific contextualization and culture.

Sunday, December 16 2018

After a democratic process of voting, our team decided to give the final pitch in which two people will be speaking. This has been decided very carefully on designing the pitch session that can facilitate coherenece of the presentations and concentration from audience. First draft of this pitch has been written in a compelling story-telling way, in order to transfer important messages to the audience with convincing argumentation and qualitative empathy.

Sunday, December 16 2018

This is the final version of our project's poster.

Sunday, December 16 2018

At the end of our project, we have created a final report that summarizes all the implementations we have done.

Sunday, December 16 2018

The final report can be accessed through the following link, since it was not possible for us to upload it due to its large size:


Sunday, December 16 2018