Improving the Lives of Artisanal Miners
On October 15, more than 100 guests joined a gala evening at Ottawa City Hall to raise funds for the Diamond Development Initiative, an NGO promoting better livelihoods for artisanal miners and their families in Africa and the Americas. The event was hosted by DDI Canada board member Ted Jackson to celebrate his 65th birthday and co-emceed with artist and entrepreneur Ayisha Gariba. DDI Board Chair Ian Smillie and Executive Director Dorothee Gizenga briefed guests on the work of the Initiative. City Councillor Tobi Nussbaum welcomed the group and pointed to the importance of trust and social capital in development efforts in Canada and abroad. Keynote speaker Bob Rae also brought the issue of mining home to Canadians, saying: “We need to face our own colonial history to understand how to share the land with indigenous peoples.” Music was provided by jazz pianist Miguel de Armas and hip hop vocalist Edward Mbaraga. Sponsors of the event included World University Service of Canada, the Bank of Montreal and the Jackson-Seydegart family.