The Experiences of Young Workers in Artisanal Mining: The Case of Wera Jarso Woreda

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Addis Ababa University


This study is concerned with assessing the work experience of young workers who are engaged in artisanal mining (AM) in Wera Jarso Woreda, Oromia Region, with the objective of exploring the major factors relating to their work. The researcher has employed case study method with a descriptive purpose, supported by qualitative research methodology. The basic research question was: what factors constitute the work experience of young workers? For this purpose, the data requirements for the study were collected from different sources. The primary data were collected from 22 respondents of which 14 of them (young workers) and the rest eight respondents (community members) were selected by using purposive sampling using their leadership position and expertise as points of reference for community member. Moreover, the study made use of documents as secondary data sources such as firms’ guiding principles, rules and regulations; reports of ILO and other organizations, and articles. In-depth interview, key informant interview, FGD and observation checklist were also used as tool of collecting primary data. The data collected were analyzed using thematic analysis or major idea analysis. The findings from the study revealed that the young workers are having unpleasant experiences as reflected in the work setting (having poor social condition, unsuitable landscapes, deteriorated environment accompanied with low payment), health and occupational safety issues (being exposed to health problems, absence of health insurance, absence of safety equipments, using outdated and obsolete tools and exposure to injuries). They have little or no professional knowledge about the extraction, processing, production and marketing process of the minerals. The challenges faced by young workers categorized in to four major domains: education, health, economic and social domains of life, benefits obtained from being involved in AM and finally future aspiration and goals of young workers are determinants to change their current situation basically by being involved in education or business. The study has concluded an intensive social work intervention at all levels is needed and this implies that, social workers are expected to integrate problem solving techniques and models related to the problems young workers by involving themselves in research, advocacy, practice and education. Key words: Young workers, work setting, health and occupational safety, challenges, knowledge about AM, benefits of AM and, aspirations and goal.



Young workers, work setting, health and occupational safety, challenges, knowledge about AM, benefits of AM and, aspirations and goal.