Diamond Development Initiative Seeking Executive Director

The Diamond Development Initiative (DDI), the Ottawa, Canada–based group that works on the issues surrounding artisanal diamond diggers, is looking for a new executive director to replace longtime head Dorothée Gizenga (pictured).

Gizenga tells JCK that she is shifting her role as serve as DDI’s regional director for Africa. She will be based out of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where she is from.

“It was my request to move to DRC and assume a new important function for DDI,” she says.

The ad for the DDI executive director position can be seen here.

Gizenga was the DDI’s first-ever executive director. She first took over the organization in 2008, shortly after its founding in 2006. Prior to that, she was a program manager for Partnership Africa Canada, the nongovernmental organization now known as IMPACT that first brought the conflict-diamond issue to worldwide attention.

The news comes shortly after the Diamond Development Initiative launched its Maendeleo Diamond Standards, a certification system that enables ethical production of diamonds by artisanal and small-scale mining operations through the adoption of standards and best practices. (Maendeleo is a Swahili word meaning “development.”) More information on the Maendeleo Diamond Standards, which De Beers is using in its Gemfair program in Sierra Leone, can be seen here.

As part of those standards, artisanal miners in the Democratic Republic of Congo recently got training in first aid, in conjunction with the International Red Cross.

Up to 20 precent of the world’s gem-quality diamonds are produced by artisanal miners, who often use rudimentary tools, work in hazardous conditions, and live in extreme poverty. There are 1.5 million artisanal diamond miners in Africa and South America, working in about 20 different countries, the DDI says.

Gizenga spoke to JCK about the ethics of lab-grown diamonds last year. She was honored by the Diamond Empowerment Fund in 2016.

(Image courtesy of the Diamond Development Initiative) 

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