BEYOND ZERO HARM: Promoting effective community participation in West Africa mining sector

Mining-affected communities globally, and specifically in West Africa, experience both the potential of important socio-economic development opportunities and the negative socio-economic and environmental impacts of mining activities. Local populations, in particular women and youth, lack the capacities, systems, and processes to take full advantage of those opportunities. This also impacts their ability to prevent conflict related to control of resources, as well as access to economic benefits and compensation for negative impacts.

This project will test and evaluate the Beyond Zero Harm (BZH) Framework, a tool developed by a working group under the Devonshire Initiative, which included mining companies, civil society organizations, and academics. BZH’s objective is to enable communities, particularly women and youth, to maximize the socio-economic benefits of extractive resource investment. It does so through the co-production of consistent and meaningful local data on community well-being, the promotion of more transparent and inclusive local governance, and regional knowledge-sharing on development best practices in mining areas.

Led by the World University Service of Canada (WUSC), with the participation of the Devonshire Initiative and local researchers, this project aims to pilot and test a framework and concrete tools to co-produce, analyze, disseminate, and use relevant data in mining-affected communities of West Africa from a community-inclusive perspective. It will assess the potential of BZH as an effective framework to guide a participatory, gender-sensitive process. The project will also assess how knowledge sharing and comparative learning across communities implementing BZH (or similar frameworks) can be effectively leveraged to ensure greater applicability and use of findings to influence decision and policymakers.

The field research and intervention will be conducted simultaneously in the Sahel Region in Burkina Faso, the Western Region in Ghana and the Préfecture de Boké in Guinea. Private sector, local governments, chambers of mines, researchers, and communities will be actively engaged throughout the process.

Project ID


Project status



48 months

IDRC Officer

Ramata Thioune

Total funding

CA$ 349,900


South of Sahara


Governance and Justice

Project Leader

Geoffroy Groleau


World University Service of Canada/Entraide universitaire mondiale du Canada

Institution Country


Institution Website