Mine The Gap

Mine The Gap

by afroditian artshinys d.demirgoz husseinkdib ninaquintas | updated November 19, 2018



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.

October 26, 2018 at 8:55 AM
Created by d.demirgoz
Comments (7)
I really appreciated your concept and the approach you are using in this project for different reasons. First of all, it deals 100% on sustainability: the fact that you are studying ways people can get out of sand extraction dependency and find alternative jobs implies future empowerment of those local communities through sustainable ways to get resources. In fact, your solution would not be temporary, but would create a social system that could be long-lasting. Second, I really like the fact that you are combining the environmental aspect with the social aspect surrounding this issue, thus approaching the matter in a complete way highlighting the interconnectedness of sustainable development. Finally, I would like to suggest you to analyze deeply the different cultural elements that define the issue locally: as a matter of fact, every country and every community has its different cultural, economic, social and religious traits to take into consideration when trying to change things, and the method you apply in one reality might not function in another one. Anyway, I think you are on the right track and I am confident you will do an amazing work, bravi!
9 days ago
It's really an amazing idea to address sand crisis at local level. Policy without reflecting local people's needs often faces difficulty when it's implemented. Besides, as the local communities involve in sand mining sometimes as victim but sometimes also as worker and observer, they will play an important role in solutions.
I think your project will be also helpful for other teams to understand the local situation.
I look forward to hear details of your lovely project! :)
9 days ago
I really appreciate the fact that your project is focus on improving the life of the people involved in the extraction of sand. Indeed, I think it’s an important aspect that we should not ignore and a smart way to start tackling this global issue.
I read that in India workers who are illegally extracting sand by diving make almost 4 times the average daily wage. Nonetheless, it is an extremely dangerous job and a lot of them are dying. Communicating the dangers of this activity through a booklet or perhaps alternatives means for illiterate people seems good idea.
Since the demand of sand is growing,I was wondering if it is better to promote alternative to sand mining or promote a legal and secure way to execute this activity, ( with social security or compensation in the event of death).
It is a great project ! Keep up the good work 
9 days ago
I find this idea to be brilliant in addressing the issue of sand mining/extraction at a local level. This project can be extremely helpful to the others in understanding specific regional cases and how each varies according to different local factors (rule of law, culture, economy, social organization, etc..).
I am personally very impatient to hear about all your findings!

However, I am curious to find out more about your interventions: how will you incentify local communities to quite sand mining? how will you communicate the soon-to-be sand crisis? how will you assist the population in this transition? how will you evaluate your success? how long will your intervention last?

I find this to be a smart and innovative project, I am impatient to hear more! Best of luck for the next steps!

8 days ago
Hi there!

It it such an amazing project you have here. I think it is a necessary thing to look at the impacts of sand mining on local communities, so having a global project for local challenges was the good idea. I think rooting a project with local starting points is innovative, and the researches made under such a project are a web that could link all the others.

Moreover, trying to consider alternative solutions also show you have pushed the reflexion further and thought of the finality of making the changes sustainable. I look forward to hear more about specific cases and how the process went. Also,I am definitely curious about how you would adapt to local particularities and think of alternatives, and what would be the specific steps.

Anyway, congratulations for coming up with such a positive idea and we all follow you with a great interest.

8 days ago
I really appreciate the fact that you decided to develop a project about people and communities (yours it is the only project focused on people, you guys are brave because I think working with and for the good of people is always difficult since there are so many different aspect to consider).
It is concrete and I think it could have a real positive impact. It is also very ambitious because when we deal with communities in different regions, the characteristics and the issues to take into consideration are numerous. I suggest you to focus on significant cases so you can structure your solutions more clearly.
Good job!
8 days ago
I think this is a great idea - a thorough case study analysis could really uncover some of the hidden factors behind unregulated sand extraction.

These kinds of fine-grained analyses take a lot of time and effort, so I hope that your team is prepared!

In addition to the other great points the other comments have made, I had a concern as well. What will your team deliver in the end in terms of a prototype or tangible deliverable? Will it be a website? or video?
3 days ago

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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.

November 10, 2018 at 5:30 PM
Created by d.demirgoz, artshinys, and ninaquintas
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We have been doing pitches whole workshop sessions this week and we tried to visualise our project for the pitches. 

This our visual for pitch sessions 

November 10, 2018 at 5:32 PM
Created by d.demirgoz and artshinys
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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. 

November 10, 2018 at 5:53 PM
Created by artshinys and d.demirgoz
Comments (1)
I think this is a great way to understand potential causes to sand mining - I'm getting the impression that many of our projects will not explore the deep, root causes of unsustainable sand extraction like you guys will!

I wonder if its possible to scale your project up. Doing case-study research is very involved and cannot be reduced to data inputs, especially with your thorough and ethnographic approach. How will you expand the project to include more communities, more places or more cases?
3 days ago

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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


November 15, 2018 at 6:05 AM
Created by d.demirgoz and artshinys
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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)




November 15, 2018 at 7:53 AM
Created by artshinys and d.demirgoz
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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.


November 15, 2018 at 9:30 AM
Created by d.demirgoz
Comments (1)
I really enjoy how you have broken down the research methods for the projects. I suppose that my main question after reading it is how you are going to connect this back to sand. Are you going to illustrate the similarities in the situations between mining communities and sand extraction in specific areas? Will you make a policy recommendation based on your research? I think that you should really be explicit about the link so that it is still directly related to sand so that it is more applicable to a range of topics. Perhaps it could even be done by identifying the specific practices of NGOs related to mining that could be easily transferred to sand.
less than a minute ago

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