R2Say No

R2SAY No Program
In partnership with WOMIN , the Office of JPIC Franciscans Africa is conducting a program for human rights advocacy called R2SAY No in Kenya especially in areas where by most of our actions are focused ,Advocating for fair and just life in the communities affected by big projects and mining sector , with a special concern on women and children.

In Kenya, We are in: Nairobi, Mombasa, Taita-Taveta, Kwale, Siaya and Homabay
The R2SayNO is a CALL by communities for control over their own development. This means many things including the right to a decent life; to health and wellbeing; to control over seeds and respect for collective land rights; to living a caring interdependent relationship with nature; to being free from all forms of violence; and to enjoying public and social services.

The R2SayNO stands FOR direct forms of democracy, decentralised decision-making and the redistribution of power. The R2SayNO is founded on resistance and so it is very centrally about POWER and challenges to the institutions and people who hold power over people and nature to enrich themselves. It is important for poor and marginalised people to achieve direct democracy to determine their destinies. Saying NO is deeply political as it challenges systems of power and asserts the right of communities to define their own interests and their own futures. A consent right for communities could represent a substantial push back against the immense global power corporations have built, and roll back the rate of dispossession of land, resources and livelihoods by these corporations.

The R2SayNO is DRIVEN FROM BELOW by communities in resistance and movements who are saying NO to mega projects – it is not something imposed, interpreted and transplanted from above which is most often the case with laws, protocols and frameworks. Even if a right has been legislated it is typically won by people organizing for and demanding this right. Communities and their allies often say NO without a legislated and recognized national right. Instead, they see their right to self-determination and sovereignty as a just claim on the basis of which they say NO.

The following are the recommended steps from the convening members of the “Right to Say No” initiative for the East African caucus:

1. Build capacities of the constituents on the importance of self-determining initiatives Cross-cutting from communities in the mining areas
2. Establish agency among women in the Mining areas on standing up for their rights Cross-cutting
3. Sensitizing community members on the equal rights of women to employment, leadership, civic space for social, economic and environmental sustainability Cross-cutting
4. Collectively build an approaches/methodology for grassroots women’s organizing that can inspire and influence other organizations working with women Cross-cutting
5. Education and sensitization of the community on the dangers posed by extractive Cross-cutting
6. Establish evidence-based lobbying/advocacy mechanisms that would promote inclusive planning and transparency – contracts disclosure. Cross-cutting
7. Building networks and partnership with organizations which helps the community learn from others. /Cross-cutting
8. Engage the media and the legal fraternity at country/regional level/ Cross-cutting
9. Initiate participatory learning drive that would draw other stakeholders, including Local Government officials /Cross-cutting
10. Work towards identifying sustainable development alternatives such as renewable energy and agro ecology, at the local level by drawing on women’s lived experience /Cross-cutting.

SIAYA, Homabay

Background Information
Siaya County is one of the counties in the former Nyanza province in the Southwest part of Kenya. It is bordered by Busia County to the North, Kakamega County and Vihiga County to the Northeast and Kisumu County to the Southeast. It shares a water border with Homabay County which is located South of Siaya County. The total area of the county is approximately 2496.1 square kilometres. The county lies between 0 26” to 0 18 North and Longitude 33 58 East and 34 33 West. Siaya has been split up into six new subcounties that is Gem, Ugunja, Ugenya, Alego Usonga Rarieda and Bondo.

The main economic activities in Siaya County include; livestock keeping, fishing, rice farming and small scale trading. Siaya is also endowed with natural resources such as rivers, lakes, indigenous forests, minerals such as Gold. Subsistence farming is done where the land is utilized mainly for the production of food crops for family consumption and the surplus sold to earn income. The common food crops include millet, sorghum, sweet potatoes, cassava, beans, groundnuts, maize.

Gold mining has become the main economic activity of the people of Bondo and Rarieda subcounty especially those who reside along Lake Victoria area covering Central Sakwa and Asembo. The areas with Gold deposit are Uyawi, Nango, Abimbo, Nyangoma, Wagusu and Gobei. The discovery of Gold can be traced back to during colonial period as the locals report. The whites used machines to mine the Gold. Although it has taken many years since Gold was discovered, it has stagnated at the developmental stage. Simple tools are still used to dig deep holes to reach Gold deposits. The miners work as individuals or groups using unskilled and semiskilled workforce.

After extracting the ore of mud and dust mixed with stones. The stones are crushed into small pieces and left in the sun to dry for a number of days then taken for milling in a grinder that is powered by the generator or electricity. The powder is mixed with water and mercury is used to trap Gold. This is manually done by both men and women using their hands. It is time consuming and tiresome.

Gold mining has made a significant positive impact to the local community. Being the main source of income and employment opportunities, the livelihood of the people has improved. It has improved the relationship between communities and the neighboring countries like Tanzania and Uganda through interaction and marriage. This has created peace and harmony. Markets have developed and peoples, living standard improved since the locals are able to take their children to good schools and pay school fees. Some members of the community have built descent storey houses and drive posh cars. The local government has benefited by collecting taxes.

There are challenges associated with Gold mining in this region. The social, health and environmental impacts have been realized. The chemicals used in the mines especially mercury has led to the death of animals when they drink water contaminated with it. People working without safety equipment pose health risks like coughing as a result of inhaling dust, eye irritations and skin problems.

Explosives used to break the hard rock cause shock to people with heart related sickness and disturbance to the earth causing cracks on buildings and accidents when touched especially when explosives delay. The excessive noise from the grinding machine deafens. Several death of people have occurred due to collapse of mines to the point that they cannot be found. Many people have lost their limbs or become permanently immobile as a result of accidents or suffocation from insufficient oxygen in the deep holes.
Clearing of vegetation to pave way for extraction of Gold has led to deforestation leaving the land bare and encouraging soil erosion evidenced by observable effects such as discoloration of stream water. There is loss of rich agricultural land due to land degradation. The deep holes, collapse mines and heaps of soil cannot allow the growth of crops. Many people have been displaced.

The Lake Victoria and the streams around are polluted with dirty water and chemicals used in the mines. People have abandoned their homes and settled around the mines and this has led to immorality and the spread of sexually transmitted infections. Women work long hours and have no time to attend to house chores.

The Tanzanians with technical knowledge in mining exploit the locals. They have simple machines that can easily detect Gold deposits. Once they discover the Gold they don’t tell the locals and sneak at night to extract the Gold without the knowledge of the locals. Roads have been destroyed by heavy tracks that transport the Gold ore to grinding sites leading to poor infrastructure in the region.

The locals don’t value education many are lured into mining to get quick money. Some are avoiding pursuing further education. They forgo education claiming that there are no jobs even for the most learned members of the society.

The middlemen exploit the locals. The price of l g (one gram) of gold ranges from Kshs. 2800 to 3200. The actual price is not known since it is determined by the buyers. The remaining residue which is a mixture of sand and soil particles is often collected by individuals who trade in Gold for further processing. The land owners share a profit of 40% and those who mine Gold get 60%.

The local government only collects taxes and does not participate in any other way as far as the locals are concerned. The government only views this activity as a source of employment to the people. The community appreciates mining as a source of income and ignorant of the impact of the mining operations.


For one to be allowed to mine Gold, he or she is required to be a member of a SACCO. The registration fee costs Ksh. 2000. This amount is banked and is used as a security incase a member get an accident in the mine.

The amount of Gold deposit is reducing as mining continues. Once completely depleted the people will remain poor. Some mining sites have completely been abandoned since Gold has been depleted .

The community needs to be sensitized more on mining
Capacity building to be done
Manpower empowerment
Protection from exploitation by middlemen
Efforts to be done on land recovery


Kwale (and Mombasa) County
This research focused on Mombasa and Kwale Counties that have and are extensively being affected by mining. The focus here is fisheries in the two counties and the impact of mining mineral sands in the area. Though the target company operates from Kwale County, its effects are felt even in Mombasa County since the sea waters are shared by the two Counties.
2. Type of extraction activity carried out in this area
Base Titanium Limited operates the 100% owned Kwale Mineral Sands Operations in Kenya, which commenced production in late 2013. The Kwale Operation is located 10 kilometres inland from the Kenyan coast and 50 kilometres south of Mombasa, the principal port facility for East Africa. The Kwale Operation currently accounts for approximately 65% of Kenya’s mining industry by mineral output value.
3. Information on the mining company’s right to operate and its track record
Base Titanium Limited operates legally in the country. It has a prospecting License 2018/0119 (PL119) which hosts the Kwale South Dune and North Dune, thus the company has government permission to extract mineral sands locally, in Kwale. Despite the fact that before they start operation, mining companies conduct an environmental impact assessment, it is not clear whether the community is fully aware of the impact of the company in their locality. This is because these contracts are confidential and not accessible to the local community. The Base Titanium Environmental Assessment Report conducted in 2012 can be accessed here. Not many community members can access the internet or are able to understand such technical documents.
The project is financed through equity and a $215m debt facility. The support infrastructure includes an 8km access road, a 14km long, 132kV power supply line, tailings storage facility, a water storage dam on the Mukurumudzi river, and a marine facility for facilitating export.
Water required for the processing plant is sourced from the nearby Mukurumudzi Dam which has a storage capacity of 8.5 gigalitres.

4. The project is already established and started its mining operations in 2013.
5. Key Socio economic impacts of Titanium
Titanium mining is very polluting to the environment. Most of the waste from the extraction activities go to the sea where they destroy fisheries in the area. Most affected are the special fish hatching areas and the coral reefs that supply the natural habitation to the fish. This type of mining also destroys local fishing grounds and the fish breeding cites. A lot of fish die in the process and a lot more migrate to safer sea waters.
The fishermen in the affected areas not only lose their only source of income, they are also reduced to poverty and cannot support their families nor pay for their children’s education. When this happens women are most affected as they spend most of the time with their children and when they cannot cater for their basic needs like food, health and education, some of them become distressed and even suicidal.
Again, fishing in Kwale and Mombasa is mainly a man activity. However, women depend on fishing as they buy from the fishermen to vendor in the local markets and villages. However, when the fishermen are not able to supply a daily catch due to the destructive extractive industry, the women are directly affected. Some of the women are single mothers or widows who do not have a spouse with whom they share the burden of supplying for their families.
A very significant effect in the area is also the destruction of mangrove trees. These trees align themselves at the coastal areas and they are known to absorb more carbon than other trees in the are, thus helping keep the carbon emission in the are low. With the destruction of the mangroves the environment is affected and this adds to the increase in global warming. It takes a very long time for the mangroves t grow yet the mining activities at the coast are busy destroying these age old indigenous trees to the area.
6. Current Key environmental impacts linked to this project
1. It affects the biodiversity in the ocean leading to death of fish and migration of others
2. It is destructive to the local ambient and …
3. Pollutes water in rivers and in the sea
4. Causes land degradation as most of the land has not been reclaimed despite enabling the company to earn millions of dollars.
7. Likely impacts on people and animals
1. Displacement of the local communities
2. Loss of livelihoods due to loss of income especially for the people who solely depend on fishing
3. Mass extinction of some types of fish
4. Destruction of fish breeding area
It is important to note that
… with the arrival of Base Titanium, came (involuntary) displacement and resettlement of a large share of Kwale county’s indigenous communities. In order for mining to take place, displacement of populations on the land in which the mineral resource exists is inevitable. Ever since the inception of the mining project, the local community has been in conflict with the government and with the extractive company over the Kwale project. While indigenous communities hold the view that they are the ‘true’ owners of the contested land, the Kenyan Government considers itself as the real owner through the power of eminent domain.

8. The role the government has played in Titanium Base Company
The government issued a license for Base Titanium to operate in the country. It is assumed that before such a document is provided, the government ascertains that the company must follow all protocols to ensure the rights of the local community are protected and that the company adheres to all the national and international regulations on the same.
However, in the case of Kwale and Mombasa Counties, there seems to be little follow up of the implementation of the project in the area. Many people who were displaced were inadequately compensated. The effects on the environment like on fisheries and the local mangrove forests seems not to be the concern of the government, though the local communities are so much concerned about these issues themselves.
Even the fact that the project which was initially welcomed by the community on the grounds that it would improve the lives of the locals, is making the locals poorer that they were prior to the project, seems not to be a priority concern the national and county governments. The communities have thus been left on their own to advocate for their rights in the implementation of the Base Titanium Mining practices.
9. Community Initiatives to defend itself against social, economic and ecological malpractices from the mining operations are as follows:
• There have been formed groups to preserve the mangroves. In Ghazi, Kwale for example, a community group called Mko Pamoja (Swahili for United) was initiated with an objective of conserving the mangrove forest. The members of the community, through the group, keep vigil to ensure no destruction or cutting down of the trees around their community takes place.
• Through community advocacy the group helps conserve the environment in the area. Together with some international organizations they keep tab of carbon crediting of the area to measure the metric amount of the carbon absorbed by the forest in their midst, thus they are playing a vital role in ensuring the carbon emission is kept to the minimum and adding value to the global campaign against global warming.
• The local organizations work together with other Coast based NGOs like the Community Action for Nature Conservation (CANCo) and Haki Yetu to sensitize the locals on the impacts of destructive extractive mining in the area.
10. Key Challenges for the community when resisting the project
The community has faced a number of key challenges in their efforts to resist Base Titanium Company extractive business in their locality. The following are some of these challenges:
• Vocal local people who initially started protesting were taken over by Titanium and given positions at the company. This was with an intention of muzzling them from speaking for the community.
• The company as well as the government promised the locals at the inception of the project that 5% of the employees of the company would come from the community. However, there are no local people with the skills, knowledge or capacity to perform the technical and complicated jobs at the company. The locals thus end up getting menial jobs like sweeping, being tea/coffee servers, or as informal guards. There have not been efforts to build the capacity of the local people to take on the jobs available.
• With low literacy rate, it is difficult to find local engineers, managers, lawyers etc. who could be employed at the company. The locals thus ask, for a multinational earning millions of dollars from resources in their locality, what jobs are available for the locals?
• The government has already negotiated terms with the company. Thus resisting the company may be seen as a protest against the government. Currently the government is receiving higher dividends and plans are underway to extend the mining area for Base Titanium. More community members may be earmarked for evictions and the community may not be aware how this extension would affect them.
11. Yes, there are some CBOs and NGOs working on addressing human rights violations coming from the mining activities in Kwale and Mombasa Counties. They include Community Action for Nature Conservation (CANCo) and Haki Yetu Organization (HYO) which concentrate on sensitizing the locals on the impacts of destructive extractive mining industry in the area.
12. Proposed steps to be taken to ignite community action to defend their rights
1. Need to lobby and advocate for the local people to get what they legally deserve and/ or are promised by the government and extracting company
2. Empower the community with education and awareness creation so that they understand the kind of company operating I their midst, the impact of the extractive activities.
3. Provision of needed information by the community. The community needs to understand that beyond the government and company promises to create jobs, better education, roads, health and so on, these promises do not come on silver platter. Does the community have the required skills? Need for information dissemination on the reality on the ground. For example the community needs to understand that companies come with no trespass laws and rules and regulations that even restrict the community from accessing the mining areas and knowing what exactly goes on and its impact on the locality. How can the community be deliberately strategic in dealing with the extractive company?
4. Build the capacity of the community to negotiate with the government and the company for development in their locality so that all sides benefit, not only the company or the government, but also the local community. Negotiation skills ought to be given both at individual and community levels.
5. Due to low literacy rates in the area, it is important to educate the community on the need for education of their children who will still be impacted by the effects of current and future mining activities. Introduction of human rights clubs in the schools would ensure the children can start, from a young age, understanding the impacts of extractive business and deliberately take on studies that can help the community defend itself.
6. There is need for legal intervention so that the community is defended during relocation and compensation exercises. Legal knowledge on what this means is important so the locals may understand they would lose their lands, houses, etc, and how they can deal with this when it happens. How do they negotiate the amount of money they get when compensated and whether it is worth, or value for their land, houses, etc, most of which are ancestral and therefore with a lot of cultural value – which means they are selling their inheritance and generational property, which is also their source of livelihood, self esteem and identity as a people?

Taita Taveta County
Taita Taveta County is home to several extractive business activities.
2. Type of extraction activity carried out in this area
Types of mining activities that take place in the mine rich County involve Industrial and Gemstone mining.
1. Industrial Mining targets iron ore, manganese, copper, nickel, etc
2. Gemstones mining include –
a. Ruby
b. Tsavorite
c. Tourmaline of variety of colours like blue, green and red
d. Garnets including
i. Hornito
ii. Almandine
iii. Rhodolite
iv. Change Colour
e. Amethyst
f. Et
According to a study published by the Journal of Environmental Protection,
The mineral rich areas under this belt are listed as Taita Hills, Mwatate, Kasigau and Kuranze areas among others. Taveta region of Taita Taveta County is covered by a volcanic belt. Popular mines found in Taita are red garnets, green garnets, yellow garnets, green tourmalines, yellow tourmalines, change colour, blue sapphire, pink sapphire, amethyst, peridot, iolite, spinel, rhodolites and kynites, to list a few (Mwakumanya et al., 2016; Rop, 2014). The County emerges as the only main source of Tsavorite and ruby minerals worldwide.
3. Mining Companies operating in Taita Taveta Mining industry
1. Universal resource (Australian) – mines manganese in mariwenyi area of Voi Subcounty
2. Samrudha Resources (Indian) – Mine iron ore in Kishushe
3. Rockland – Mines Ruby in Kasighau
4. Bridges – Mines Tsavorite in Mkuki (Mwatate Sub County
5. Classic mines – Mines Tsavorite in kamtonga (Mwatate Sub County)
These mining companies have permits to operate in the area. They have also signed Community Development Agreements (CDAs) with the local communities. However, not much can be seen on the ground on what they are giving back to the community.
Since mining is a devolved activity in Kenya, key licenses are given by the national government, while the Local or County Government only deals with local level artisan miners and their permits.
Most of these companies have had activities in the county for many years, even before the adoption of the 2016 Mining Act. Thus they are established projects. Bridges for example has been in the locality since 1971.
According to Ropp (2014), “this is where Campbell Bridges discovered tsavorite in 1971 and where his company continues to carry out mining. Taita Taveta County is currently the main source of Tsavorite in the world”. .

Key socio economic impact of the community
Many people come to the mining areas with a dream of making quick money. However they realize it is hard work and some are not prepared for this. Many of them turn to quick money making businesses like trafficking in drugs and prostitution. Sexually transmitted diseases are therefore a looming danger in the area. Sometimes rapes have been reported and this is a scare to the community especially women and girls in the area. Criminal acts are also on the increase.
Environmental Impacts
There are many uncovered quarries left in various areas. These become breeding cites for mosquitoes when it rains and thus can be source of malaria which is rampart in the area. Uncovered quarries are also a danger to children who play around them. There have also been cases of animals falling in them.
No trees grow in some of the abandoned mine sites where indigenous trees may have been cleared to make room for mining. There is need to rehabilitate uncovered quarry areas.
Impact on people and animals
As these projects progress, there is the likelihood of various impacts on people, animals and the environment. These range from health issues. Many of the people especially women in mining operate without protective gear and could fall sick from coming into regular contact with the chemical composition of the rocks and dirt they touch without protection. The regular dust inhaled may cause breathing and lung related problems. Artisans and small scale miners do a lot of hard manual work which may impede the health of the people.
There is a lot of water contamination. Also, long hours and days spent without clean water is a looming health hazard for the community. There is a lot of land degradation since the same cannot be tilled. There is also destruction of biodiversity of the area sometimes permanently impairing the land and its natural ability to repair itself.
Also blasting near the game park affects the wild animals in the area.
The role the government has played in the projects in Taita Taveta County has been to develop committees to work on the ground to oversee the implementation of the CDAs (Community Development Agreements). These Committees are expected to defend the rights of the communities concerned. However, not all Sub Counties have these committees. They are yet to be constituted despite there being modalities to go about constituting them.
The government has also supported through ensuring technical assistance to the artisans so as to avoid their exploitation. It has also build a Gem centre in Voi town where validation and value addition of the gemstones can happen.
Community Initiatives
To defend itself against social, economic and ecological malpractices from the mining operations, the community has formed committees and activist groups. They are also working closely with local human rights defenders. Sometimes there have been issues like privacy for women where body searches were being carried on women by men guards. The community protested this and now such searches have stopped.
Key challenges that the community faces when resisting the projects
According to Mghanga (2010), conflicts over land and mineral resources are commonplace in many parts of Taita such as Kasighau, Chungaunga, Kamtonga in Mwatate, Mwachabo, Alia, Kishushe and other parts of Taita – especially in the lower zones where mining is a major economic activity. Mghanga writes that:
Wealthy and politically-connected individuals, mainly from outside of the county, have a stranglehold on the industry; they acquire the right to prospect for minerals in the area from the administrative centres of Nairobi, Mombasa and the area district headquarters at Wundanyi often without the participation of the local communities – the custodians and owners of the land where the minerals are found. Armed with the licences, they proceed to map out, peg and fence off the chunks of land belonging to the local people. This not only excludes the locals from their ancestral lands, it also displaces various categories of small-scale local miners composed of the Wadawida, Gikuyu, Meru, Kamba, Somali and other ethnic groups who eke out a living through mining, collecting, buying and selling gemstones in the area .
Other challenges include the following
1. Fear of losing their land – this is because the contracts given give mining rights to the companies but do not secure land rights for the locals.
2. Political groupings that resist one company that violates the people’s rights but keep up with other companies that do the same
3. Little concern from the political elite
4. There are no policies guiding mining at the local government level making it easy for the artisans and small scale miners to be exploited
Community based Organizations
There are few active community based organizations. A few activist groupings exist but they are sometimes branded as opposition sympathizers.

Steps to ignite community action to defend their rights would include the following
• Education and sensitization of the community on the dangers posed by extractive mining
• Lobbying and advocacy so the people understand the contents of agreements entered into between the government and the companies and what is in it for the community.
• Strengthening of the existence CBOs and advocacy groups
• Monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of the projects on the ground
• Legal intervention where need be so the people may not lose their land or where compensation happens, it may be favourable to the communities.

Kenya Gazette Supplement, Acts 2016 –

Laws of Kenya, Mining Act –

Britt Evers, (2020), Mining and its long-term impacts on local livelihoods: A case study
of expected mine closure in Kwale County, Kenya. A Master’s Thesis, Utrecht University (http://www.secheresse.info/spip.php?article106574)

Irene Wakio Mwakesi, Raphael Githaiga Wahome, Daniel Weru Ichang’i, (2020) Mining
impacts on Society: A case study of Taita Taveta County, in Journal of environmental protection. Vol. 11, No. 11. November 2020

Mwandawiro Mghanga, (2011), The wealth in the underground that is elusive to local
communities: Mining in Taita Taveta County, Prospects and problems. Hendrich Boll Foundation, Nairobi, Kenya (https://ke.boell.org/sites/default/files/mining_in_taita_taveta_county_-_prospects_and_problems.pdf)
Ropp, Bernard Kipsang, (2014), Economic and Job creation potential of artisanal and
small scale mining in Taita Taveta County, Kenya, UNDP, Nairobi, Kenya (http://www.jkuat.ac.ke/departments/mining/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Small-