Introducing the new and improved MACRA Tool – incorporating gender

23 November 2020

What’s new in the 3rd edition of the MACRA Tool?

  • How to identify the barriers to women’s participation
  • How to analyse the gendered impacts of corruption
  • How to include women’s perspectives in your research
  • How to include the strengths of the awards process in your assessment
  • How to conceptualise the links between the vulnerabilities, corruption risks and impacts in your assessment.
To prevent corruption in the process of granting mining licences, permits and contracts, you first need to understand and identify the corruption risks. Transparency International’s Accountable Mining Programme developed a custom tool to help you do just this.

The Mining Awards Corruption Risk Assessment Tool (MACRA Tool) helps you identify and assess the underlying causes of corruption in mining sector awards – the risks that create opportunities for corruption and undermine the lawful, compliant and ethical awarding of mining sector licences, permits and contracts.

The tool has been used across 23 countries by our network of Transparency International Chapters working in some of the world’s most resource-rich countries.

Now, we have just published a new edition – strengthened by the experience of our global network, and our development of a gendered analysis of these corruption risks.

This new edition also includes guidance on analysing the strengths as well as the weaknesses in a jurisdiction’s process for awarding mining permits. Strengths are aspects of the process or practice that help prevent or detect corruption. For example, formal procedures for cross-checking and scrutinising decisions to award a mining or exploration licence help prevent corruption. This is a strength that should be weighed against any weaknesses in the process to assess the possibility of an identified risk occurring.

We hope this third edition will enable researchers to contribute to building knowledge and understanding about the links between gender and corruption in the mining awards process.

Incorporating gender into an assessment of corruption risks

Gender issues are relevant to corruption risk assessments in two ways:

Firstly, gender is relevant to the impacts of corruption. Corruption can exacerbate the inequality that women already experience. Women, particularly those in remote or rural areas where mining takes place, are often in a disadvantaged position because of unequal gender and power relations, lack of access to and control of land and economic resources, and because of entrenched discrimination.

Secondly, gender is relevant because women have an important role to play in preventing corruption and improving transparency and accountability in the awards process. But to play this role, women must be able to participate and be heard in decision-making about mining projects and be able to actively hold decision-makers to account.

This new edition of the MACRA Tool guides users to collect information that will help identify, understand and address these barriers as well as to identify and mitigate the specific gendered impacts of corruption on women.

Gendered impacts of corruption in the mining sector

Corruption can affect the lives of women in a number of ways.

  • Women’s voice in community decision-making. If traditional leaders can monopolise consultations or negotiations with companies for community development agreements, women and women’s interests are likely to be excluded from any compensation or benefit-sharing agreements.
  • Safety of female artisanal miner licence applicants. Having to interact directly with government officials increases the chances that artisanal miner licence applicants will face demands for sexual favours in exchange for processing the application – particularly when they are women whose livelihood depends on artisanal mining.
  • Livelihood and sources of income of women and men in the community. Many mining projects occur in places where formal title or rights to land are not documented or recorded in a registry. In communities where women are reliant on subsistence farming, corruption that deprives them of their land directly affects their livelihood and entrenches gender inequality.
  • Domestic roles of women and men in the community. Environmental damage resulting from corrupt behaviour, such as water and air pollution, has a significant impact on domestic roles traditionally played by women such as caring for sick members of the family and sourcing fresh water or firewood for household chores.

Sextortion (sexual extortion)

Sextortion is a form of corruption primarily affecting women seeking access to government services. It involves an implicit or explicit demand from a person in a position of authority for any kind of sexual favour in exchange for performance of their formal duties. Women dependent on artisanal and small-scale mining for their livelihood may be vulnerable to sexual extortion by government officials in exchange for processing or approving their licence application.

Gendered vulnerabilities

The tool provides guidance on identifying the weaknesses in the awards process, practice and context that expose women to corruption or corruption impacts:

  • Face-to-face contact. Points where the applicant has direct contact with a government official create opportunities for corruption and expose female applicants to sexual extortion, particularly when they are interacting with officials in an isolated setting.
  • Overly technical information makes it hard for women and men in affected communities to understand the proposed project and participate in consultation and decision-making.
  • Lack of clear consultation requirements can enable companies to selectively engage only with those in the community who are likely to be in favour of the project.
  • Women’s ownership of land is not formally documented. Without legally recognised rights or title to land, women will be less able to protect their interests and negotiate access deals with mining companies whose licence will cover that land
  • The absence of gender-responsive whistleblowing protection policies can deter female staff in mining companies and government agencies from raising concerns about corruption for fear of gendered retaliation, such as sexual harassment and discrimination, allowing corruption to remain undetected.

Participation of women in preventing and mitigating corruption in the award process

Women and women’s groups are key agents of change in anti-corruption efforts. Women in civil society organisations and at the community level – when given the space to express their voice and agency – play an important role in demanding greater transparency and accountability and in advocating for women’s rights, interests and concerns to be included in decision-making about mining projects.

Strategies to tackle corruption will only be truly effective if they address the barriers created by gender inequality that hinder women’s participation in decision-making and accountability efforts.

Barriers that need to be addressed to enable women’s participation in decisions related to mining projects include:

  • Low levels of literacy among women in mining-affected communities limits their ability to participate in community consultations, defend their land rights, and ensure their interests are accounted for in agreements with companies and environmental and social management plans.
  • Gender norms that deter women from participating can undermine women’s ability to hold community leaders, government and companies accountable for self-serving conduct, making it easier for those actors to commit corrupt acts and get away with it.
  • Lack of formal title to land maymean that women’s ownership of land is not legally recognised or documented. Without legally recognised rights or title to land, women will be unable to protect their interests and negotiate with mining companies whose licence will cover that land.
  • Whistleblower protections that do not specifically address gender-based retaliation concerns may result in fewer women in companies or government raising concerns or making reports about corruption in the awards process.

Tips on including women’s perspectives in the corruption risk assessment

Women may experience licensing and contracting processes, including community consultation and engagement, differently to men. Collecting women’s views and perspectives is critical to ensuring the assessment is gender sensitive and adequately captures their insights. To effectively involve women from mining-affected communities:

  • Follow ‘do no harm’ principles: Conduct your interviews and discussions in a safe space. If you decide to hold a separate women-only meeting, ensure community leaders understand and support the rationale for having women-only focus group discussions.
  • Adhere to community protocols: Traditional leaders may need to be notified of your intention to speak with members of the community.
  • Accommodate women’s schedules: Conduct your interviews and discussions in places that women feel comfortable, at suitable times and enough prior notice for participants.
  • Involve influential people or women’s groups to help you organise your interviews and invite women:Female leaders and women’s groups can also give you information on how to best contact and engage with women in the community.
  • Be sensitive to power dynamics between women and men: If possible, it is better to speak to different groups separately and involve leaders in interviews rather than focus group discussions.

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