Jonah's Miners

The late Jonah Mngola’s report on finding and hearing Artisanal Small Scale Miners in Kenya, making them visible to policy-makers.

One year after the passing of our Programmes Manager, Extractives, the late Jonah Mngola, we now release a report that he had been working on up until his last day on earth. He did not get to publish it, but we eventually found the strength to pick up where he left off, and publish it as a way to remember him and honor his life’s work. 

I want them to be seen,
I want them to be heard,
I want their lives to change.

Honestly I find it unconscionable that in 2019 we could have people scratching at the earth for a pittance with their bare hands – no gloves, no shoes – in the hot sun, and with no equipment to increase their productivity. Yet they are mining some of the most valuable jewels that make rich people feel beautiful. Surely, they should feel worthy? These are my people. I want them to be seen, I want them to be heard. I want their lives to change. Si you find time, we go there and you will see them?


Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM) in Kenya is gaining recognition as a vital economic activity, particularly in rural communities. Despite its informal nature, ASM provides livelihoods and contributes to regional development.

This report examines ASM in Kenya, focusing on Western and Coastal regions known for gold and gemstones respectively. Lack of comprehensive data impedes understanding of ASM’s economic impact. As global mineral demand rises, improving ASM management and inclusion of women and youth in decision-making processes are crucial for enhancing livelihoods and reducing poverty in Kenya.


Estimated value sub-Saharan Africa’s ASM produce from gold & gemstones

84.3 %

of respondents do not have access to machinery


of ASM groups did not
have access to local or
international markets

Engagement with artisanal miners pre-COVID highlighted their significance for Kenya's economy. Lack of agency and data hindered their involvement in decision-making.

Calls have been made for collaborative efforts involving the government, private sector, NGOs, and donors to address ASM challenges, especially during the pandemic. Miners, organized in groups, seek partnerships to improve their livelihoods. A holistic approach is advocated, focusing on recommendations to uplift ASM communities, tapping into their potential to boost the economy and enhance the well-being of miners and their dependents in the long term.

Download Our Comprehensive Report

Access our concise ASM report for key insights on Kenya’s artisanal mining sector