Tanzania Women Miner Association TAWOMA

By Page on April 21, 2008 at 2:44 pm


This past fall at the Madison Dialogue summit Anna & I had the opportunity to meet Shamsa Diwani, secretary general of the Tanzania Women Miner Association TAWOMA. TAWOMA seeks to eradicate poverty in the mining areas of Tanzania by serving the interest of women and children in the mining communities. Below is an interview with Shamsa discussing TAWOMA and what the jewelry industry can do to support their mission. Anna & I are very excited to begin working with Shamsa to source stones for our next collection.

Could you tell me how TAWOMA was started & why?

TAWOMA was started by our previous Chairperson Martha Bitwale,. Before starting TAWOMA, she was employed by a private company dealing with mining and serving as a master dealer of gemstones. During this time, she had a feeling and asked herself: why do women not unite and try to buy and sell gemstones in a group and that way they will not be used by men.

She then decided to form a group of seven women and they started to buy and sell in the town. Slowly the group became 20 members. This was at Tanga Region (Kalalani) where they mine most of colored gemstones such as Garnets, Amethyst, Sapphire, Green Tourmaline, Citrine, Quartz etc. Then she traveled to other regions and introduce her idea to other women at Mwanza, Shinyanga, Tunduru, Morogoro and Mirerani, the other branches mined Gold, Tanzanite, Diamond and Ruby and other precious and semi-precious stones. More women picked the idea up and the number of members increased to 80 members in 1997. At that point they decided to register the Association and form a leadership.

Where would you like TAWOMA to be in the future?

Our vision is to eradicate poverty through the mining sector by having a lapidary centre where we can add value to our products and a big mineral marketing centre where we can sell our products.

How many women are members of TAWOMA? Is it growing?

The Association is always growing, now it has 350 members.

What is your leadership role in the community like?

Our leadership role in the community is to network and create awareness of mining activities especially for women and youth. Also work together with the government and the larger mining companies. We are involved in different projects with the communities such as environmental, health and awareness on legal rights in the mining areas. The communities do appreciate our activities.

Are you able to work with small-scale jewelers on an international level?

We are able to work with Small Scale Jewelers on International levels.

How could jewelers work with you if they wanted to use your gems?

If a Jeweler wants to work with our gems, they can contact me. Eventually, we shall have our Mineral Marketing Centre and it will easier. My name SHAMSA DIWANI, SECRETARY GENERAL, TANZANIA WOMEN MINERS ASSOCIATION, P.O. BOX 22741, DAR ES SALAAM, TANZANIA, EAST AFRICA.

TAWOMAS’ email address is tawomat@yahoo.com

As we have not yet established our website you can just order what you want and we will email you images of what is available.

What types of gems do you mine?

The types of gems we mine are: Tanzanite, Ruby, Sapphire, Tourmaline, Red Garnet, Rhodolite, Amethyst, Citrine, White Topaz, Moonstone, Yellow Scarpolite, Chrysoprase, Green Garnet, and Zircon.

Has there been any difficulty in working with/or communicating with the larger mining operations?

It has not been difficult communicating with larger mining operations when need arise. In the future we would like to see TAWOMA being a leader in community development and poverty eradication by creating more jobs opportunities to the youth and women. Also we would like to see TAWOMA operating its own fair trade lapidary centre as well as having a well-organized Mineral Marketing Centre, in which we can promote our own ethical gemstones.

What are the major challenges that TAWOMA faces?

Our major challenges are:

Having enough funds to run our office and maintain communications with our branches.

Expertise in the mineral sector

Not having a Lapidary Centre with machinery and tools

Not having a Marketing Centre

Not having reliable transport to make trips to the mining sites

A lack of communications skills and teaching materials (computers, video camera, projector, laptop, scanner, printer, photocopier).

What could the international jewelry industry and others do to help you reach your goals?

The International Jewelry Industry/Community can help us by buying our products. By doing that, it will allow us reach our goal.

We shall also be happy if someone can donate the equipment (computers and projectors).

Could you tell me about the Miners Day that you are organizing?

We are organizing to hold Mineral Event (Miss Mineral) on the 4th May 2008 and Miners Day on 5th May 2008. We always hold the event of Miners Day every 5th of May in an effort to lobby our government to have a special day for miners as we normally have special days for different sectors. This day will unite all Stakeholders in the mining Industry. Big companies and small-scale miners will share and exchange experiences of their activities eg. mining, processing, marketing of minerals and finished products. It gives opportunity to learn from presenters, and meet buyers, also it is opportunity to talk to members of the Ministry of Energy and Minerals where they can air their suggestions, They also exhibit their products. We have done this since year 2004 each 5th of May, In 2004 – Morogoro (where they mine different type of semi-precious stones, Ruby and Gold), 2005 – Singida (where they mine Zircon and Gold) 2005 – Arusha (Tanzanite, Iolite, Spessatite, Rubinite, Green Garnet) 2007 – Shinyanga – (Diamond, Gold) and this year to in Dar es Salaam where they deal with sand, kaolin, aggregate. These are only few mentioned but many types of gemstones can be found. In this event we shall have chance to promote and introduce ethical jewelry and fair trade gold.

Our intention to make this day recognized officially and represent the small and large-scale miners together to the government.

Composting Good & Evil

By Anna on April 7, 2008 at 9:31 am

Ethical Metalsmiths put out a call for entries late in 2007. Their theme –Composting Good and Evil –invited artists to explore the dynamic between our intentions and our actions with regard to the earth’s resources and the way we live. Ethical Metalsmiths didn’t ‘judge’ the submissions, but presented all of them in an online exhibition and at two screenings during the Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG) conference in Savannah, Georgia. There is a gallery of all the submissions on the EM site here, and I’ve reposted a few of my favorites.

Amy Choi

Amy Choi


I wanted to create a compelling piece that would act as a reminder to reconstruct the habit of reducing, reusing, and recycling garbage by reusing things that I normally throw into the garbage bin every day. I made an abacus ring from found materials. When I wear the ring, it will act as a reminder; in addition, it allows for metaphorically counting the merits that new habits will bring to the environment. I constructed an abacus from found objects and dyed the materials with teabags.


Teresa Faris

Teresa Faris

Collaboration with a Bird

I see artwork as a tool that elevates everyday thought to an exploratory level. I see the objects that I make as tools intended to help the viewer to either recall a memory/feeling or begin a new dialogue.

Helle Jorgensen

Helle Jorgensen


My Softwear pieces are inspired by the ocean and its creatures. They are little experiments and studies of forms, e.g., coral, sea anemone and tentacles. I have been collecting pre-loved materials for many years and have a vast stash of tapestry wool.

Sarah Lewis

Sarah Lewis

Distorted Fibonacci

In the face of the environmental destruction that gold mining causes, it is our responsibility as jewelers to use alternative materials in adornment to help deter the public from the desire to wear gold. We must prove that jewelry can be beautiful and sustainable. I believe that a movement to reduce or all together discontinue the use of gold will be a positive shift in the jewelry community. It is a design challenge that will push the boundaries of materials, alter conceptions of value, and lead to innovative solutions. My recent works feature borosilicate glass, which leaves a much lighter ecological footprint on the earth than that of metals. I believe that the reflective and luminous characteristics of glass provide an effective alternative to gold. This piece entitled Distorted Fibonacci contains the spiral an ammonite fossil. This represents my inspiration from the natural beauty of the earth.

Janet Miller

Janet Miller

Francesca & Paolo

Ornamental and strong, these rings are seeking unity. The lovers who wear them are to be in constant dialogue with themselves, their environment, and each other. When far away in time and space, the rings presence is to remind each partner of the importance of interrelation and unity.

Yoko Noguchi

Yoko Noguchi

Broom-grass Ring

I was interested in broom-grass to be spot lighted as a jewelry, which is usually sweeping floors. I have the same feeling towards T-connection. Copper bullet jacket was found at my new work.

Masako Onodera

Masako Onodera


My work is the apparatus to awake viewers and wearers of their own bodies and evanescent life. In my work, I present grotesque, and peculiar, but oddly appealing simulated body parts of appendages, representing rampart, uncontrolled growth and decay. They are both sensual and strange, and suggest an experience of the body that is altered by the tactile and visual characteristics of the object.

Tabitha Ott

Tabitha Ott

Recycled Material Rings

Years ago, I thought about how many gift cards are purchased, used, and thrown away. Since then, I have saved and collected every gift card. My goal was to create wearable objects that illustrated that recycling can be a beautiful thing.

Bryan Petersen

Bryan Petersen


This badge is depicting the struggle I find of not supporting our government’s politics, yet also being dependent on the resources which create the politics.

Suzanne Pugh

Suzanne Pugh


This group of work is based on instruments of warfare; submarines, torpedoes, bombs, and rockets. I am exploring a fascination with weapons in an attempt to understand a perspective that contrarily is and is not my own. Aluminaut is the name of the first all aluminum submarine.

Kerianne Quick

Kerianne Quick

La Leche, La Carne, La Luz: Maid, Mother, and Crone

Rings commemorating the three stages of a woman’s life and the astrological known as the Return of Saturn.