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Women at the Forefront of Healthier and Safer ASGM

The planetGOLD Philippines project conducts Seminar-Workshop on Community Health and Environment for Sagada Women Small-Scale Miners through a Partnership with Mountain Province State Polytechnic College


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SAGADA, MOUNTAIN PROVINCE – Despite employing an estimated 500,000 people, the artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) industry remains a dangerous workplace for miners due to the informality of the sector, which increases the risk of occupational, health, and various hazards.

In response to the 2019 Universal Health Care Act, which is the “provision to every Filipino of the highest possible quality of health care that is accessible, efficient, equitably distributed, adequately funded, fairly financed, and appropriately used by an informed and empowered public”, the planetGOLD Philippines project–through its partnership with the Mountain Province State Polytechnic College (MPSPC)–held a Seminar-Workshop on Community Health and Environment: An Enhancement of Primary Health Care Delivery on 12-13 March 2024 at Bangaan, Sagada, Mountain Province. 

The activity aims to train small-scale miners from the Project’s partner mining association in Sagada, the Northern Sagada Barangays Small-Scale Mining Association (NSBSSMAI), on proactive measures to achieve safety and operational excellence in ASGM while increasing  productivity leading to economic growth. By the end of the training, participants are expected to have an enhanced understanding of Universal Healthcare, demonstrate the ability to respond to emergencies, and have improved knowledge on how to promote safety at their workplace. Attended by an estimated 30 women miners from Barangay Fidelisan, Sagada, the workshop is part of the Project’s International Women’s Month activities.

In her introduction, Mildred Arucan, the National Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist at Artisanal Gold Council Philippines, highlighted the significance of offering women in small-scale mining communities the chance to enhance their knowledge and skills in primary healthcare. She stressed the importance of upskilling and providing opportunities for these women. “The planetGOLD Philippines project strongly believes in the importance of empowering women through capacity-building activities. This not only promotes their well-being and achieves gender equality, but also creates healthier and more sustainable communities. By empowering themselves, women can actively contribute to the development of our small-scale mining communities, ultimately leading to a safer, cleaner, and more profitable ASGM sector.,” Arucan added.

The two-day seminar-workshop consists of discussions and hands-on training from experts on the following topics: 

  • Introduction to Universal Health Care (UHC) by Dean of Nursing Alfred O. Fomocao, Jr.;
  • Introduction to Environmental Safety by Nursing Faculty Arlyn B. Aliping;
  • Environmental Emergencies and Substance Poisoning by Nursing Faculty Asher Cadaweng;
  • Community Health and Development by Nursing Faculty Lerma O. Mangallay;
  • Respiratory System Related and Skin Related Diseases by Nursing Faculty Poleen Langsa M. Apil

Barangay Health Worker (BHW) Rhoda Besay said in an interview how the training helped them to be prepared and gain skills in managing  emergencies and accidents.

I am glad that I participated this workshop conducted by planetGOLD Project. Iyaman launay isnan planetgold for inyali da ngay nan naay training mismo isnan naay ili tako for us to learn more on how to manage emergencies, how to identify cases ket daytuy nga seminar ket talaga nga it was very relevant especially nga siyak ket maysa nga Barangay Health Worker serving in our community as Volunteer. Dagituy amin nga inadal mi ket dakkil ti impact ti learners ken uray pay ti area of responsibilities mi. Daytuy nga training ket very relevant to the miners agsipud ta han tayu nga mapakpakadaan, han tayu baw nag ikarkararag ngem incase nga ada ti aksidente iti daytuy nga minas wenu anyaman nga health problems iti daytuy nga kaminasan ket atleast amu mi nga mangimanange dakami nga tumulong. Tumulong kami nga mangimanage iti ada nga limitasyon mi met a nga kaamuwan.” 

(I am glad that I participated in this workshop conducted by planetGOLD  Project. I greatly appreciate the opportunity to attend this training session in our community. It has provided valuable insights into emergency management and case identification, which are particularly relevant  to my role as a Barangay Health Worker serving our community as a volunteer. The knowledge and skills gained from this seminar are immensely beneficial, both personally and in fulfilling our duties within our respective areas of responsibility.  This training is significant  for miners as it equips us with essential skills to handle unforeseen accidents or health issues that may arise within the mining sector. While we hope for safety, being prepared to manage such situations is crucial, especially  for those of us expected to provide assistance. With our newfound knowledge, even within our limitations, we can effectively contribute to managing potential challenges in the mining environment.)

On the other hand, MPSPC Nursing Instructor Lerma Mangallay shared how grateful MPSPC is for the participants’ eagerness to learn about the topic as it motivated them more to empower ASGM communities. “This is one of the ways of helping ASGM communities; by  empowering them as individuals and as a community. They can use this information on primary health care to help themselves, as well as their families and those affected in the community. The participants were so eager to learn that they even accepted the challenge of sharing their insights and learning with  other members of the community.”

The Seminar-Workshop on Community Health and Environment is part of the capacity-development activities organized by planetGOLD Philippines in partnership with MPSPC. This training session is a response to the Training Needs Assessment and consultations conducted by MPSPC in 2023. The assessment provided baseline data on the gaps in capacities and priority training needs of male and female miners, as well as government partners actively involved in ASGM in the Minahang Bayan in Sagada, Mountain Province.

The planetGOLD Philippines Project is funded by the Global Environment Facility, implemented by the United Nations Environment Programme, and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, and executed by the Artisanal Gold Council.

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