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Unveiling The Jewel Of Africa Foundation (JOAF)
The Jewel of Africa Foundation (JOAF) is a non-profit organisation in Zambia aiming to empower women by providing them with skills in jewellery making and gemstone activities. The organisation seeks to address poverty, education, and daily challenges by enabling women to access income-generating work in these industries. Despite Zambia's substantial gemstone exports, the lack of value addition results in low returns.
The objectives of JOAF can be broadly stated as:
- Train women jewellers in adding value to local gemstones by making jewellery and faceting. Faceting entails the process of cutting fine rough into a glowing finished gemstone.
- Train more jewellers to gain new skills, an eye for creativity and fashion, an understanding of business principles and managing money as a means of providing for their families.
- To establish an online jewellery hub which will connect producers, traders, jewellers through a virtual market place.
- Showcase the diversity and splendour of Zambia’s gemstones and jewellery
- Highlight excellence in design skills and demonstrate formidable craftsmanship
- Train women to brand and market their creative jewellery designs internationally
- Train women in the art and craft of jewellery making
- Create a brand label for jewellery products like necklaces, earrings, hair bands, bracelets and innovative items like religious gift accessories, car jewels, key chains and others made from Zambia’s gemstones.
- Train women to develop innovative contemporary design
- Train women jewellers in marketing and management skills
- Train women jewellers in income generation by empowering them with business and jewellery making skills.
- Lobby the Government for the certification of the training
Goals of the Foundation are:
- To add value to Zambians gemstones
- To increase the incomes of the marginalised, grassroots people
- To empower women artisanal miners and jewellers with skills to enhance their incomes and livelihoods
- To set up Jewellery Certification Courses
- To lift women artisanal miners and jewellers out of poverty
- Artisanal miners adopt sustainable mining techniques
- Establish local group centres and mechanisms to prevent gender based violence in the gemstones supply chain
- Develop a sustainable environmental, social, health and safety strategy to reduce or eliminate the adverse impacts of artisanal mining
The value of gemstones is added through cutting and polishing, significantly increasing their worth. The Zambian government is also interested in enhancing gemstone exports to boost foreign exchange earnings and improve living standards. JOAF seeks to assist artisanal miners and jewellers who often lack formal education, technical skills, marketing knowledge, and access to proper safety practices. The gems and jewellery industry in Zambia holds great potential for job creation, economic growth, and foreign exchange, but the lack of value addition has led to exploitation of miners without reaping benefits.