Since the start of the COVID-19 global pandemic, De Beers Group has donated more than $5 million across its four producer partner countries of Botswana, Canada, Namibia, and South Africa to assist women’s shelters and support organizations in responding to an increase in gender-based violence resulting from the COVID-19 situation.
Established in 1888, De Beers Group is the world’s leading diamond company with expertise in the exploration, mining, and marketing of diamonds. Together with its joint venture partners, De Beers Group employs more than 20,000 people across the diamond pipeline and is the world’s largest diamond producer by value, with mining operations in Botswana, Canada, Namibia, and South Africa.
The donation will be split equally across Botswana, Canada, Namibia, and South Africa. It adds to the contributions; De Beers Group has already announced in its host countries to support the COVID-19 response, which exceeds $5 million across monetary and in-kind support, spanning the procurement of medical supplies, logistical support, vulnerability assessment support plans, food security for vulnerable households, water supply to communities, COVID-19 awareness and education, and local clinical support.
With lockdown and social distancing measures introduced around the world, exacerbating the risk of gender-based violence, there has been a global increase in cases reported, including in the countries in which De Beers Group operates. Funding by De Beers Group will support the capacity of women’s shelters and organizations in host communities to meet the increase in immediate needs, as well as beyond lockdown periods. De Beers Group is working with local stakeholders in each country, including its long-term partner, UN Women, to tailor an approach that is appropriate to local contexts.
Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group and UN Women HeForShe Thematic Champion, said: “As the world faces unprecedented health and economic challenges caused by the COVID-19 virus, many women and children are also being exposed to a significantly increased risk of gender-based violence while having limited ability to access support services and finding those services are under extreme pressure.”
“De Beers Group has a longstanding commitment to supporting women and girls in the communities where we operate, and right now, many need this support more than ever. The funding we are providing will assist women’s support organizations to continue delivering critical services to survivors of gender-based violence during the current situation and help protect against it in the future.”
In addition to the contributions De Beers Group is making as a business to support its host countries and communities, Mr. Cleaver will donate 30 percent of his salary over the next three months to charitable organizations supporting vulnerable people in southern Africa.
Anne Shongwe, UN Women Representative, South Africa Multi-Country Office, said: “As economic and social pressures and fear have grown over recent weeks, we have seen a significant and deeply concerning surge in domestic violence throughout the world, what UN Women has termed the ‘Shadow Pandemic,’ that is already being felt in Southern Africa with calls of distress from women more than doubling. Current restrictions on movement – locking women in with their violent intimate partners – is exacerbating the situation, so we must ensure women can continue to access essential support services safely as we work to beat COVID-19.”
In southern Africa, De Beers Group and UN Women are identifying key funding priority areas through a holistic emergency pathway approach that ensures support is safely accessible to those who need it from escaping abuse through to recovery. Support may be in the form of transportation, accommodation, necessary supplies, counseling, or a combination thereof. In Canada, the funding will support four shelters in the communities surrounding De Beers Group’s Gahcho Kué and Victor operations.
Forevermark Responsible Sourcing
For Forevermark, responsible diamond sourcing lies at the very heart of our business. It means that throughout a Forevermark diamond’s journey from rough to polished, particular care has been taken to ensure responsible business practices, to support the advancement of women, and to protect the natural world, which is the ultimate source of our diamonds. Not only are all Forevermark diamonds natural and conflict-free, but they also actively benefit the communities from which they come. Forevermark diamonds originate from carefully selected mines around the world in countries such as South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, and Canada. Each mine is required to uphold the highest business, social and environmental standards.