Creative capacity building with mining communites

To promote safer, healthier, and more equitable participation in regional mining economies in Antioquia, Colombia, MIT D-Lab, with support from the Rising Tide Foundation, has launched a 2-year program that trains Colombian artisanal and small-scale gold miners (ASGM) to develop sustainable solutions to ASGM-related health and environmental challenges. In addition, to promote economic diversification, the program enhanced the capacity for self-determination by sparking entrepreneurial efforts and yielding networks of businesses outside of the mining sector.

With over 15 years of inclusive innovation experience, MIT D-Lab has leveraged its in-house expertise and Colombian partnerships to implement a comprehensive program that generates opportunities for co-creating technology and business solutions with multiple stakeholders, including miners themselves.

The initiative utilizes a unique D-Lab methodology called “Creative Capacity Building” (CCB). Creative Capacity Building is an inclusive approach to human development that teaches a flexible method for problem-solving, exposing individuals to a framework that can be used to solve everyday challenges as well as provide concrete, hands-on skills to build and iterate technological and business solutions to those challenges.


CCB for Miners teaches participants MIT D-Lab’s design process so that they can become key agents in their own lives, designing, building, and ideating technologies and businesses that are capable of solving seemingly insurmountable problems artisanal and small-scale miners are facing in their communities.

Libby McDonald

Throughout the two-year program, miners will take part in a series of CCB trainings, both on technology and business design, and will have access to tailored coaching through local innovation spaces.
This approach allows participants to become active solution-finders rather than passive recipients. The expected results include, but are not limited to, the creation of technologies and businesses that produce economic and health benefits for artisanal and small-scale miner participants.At the close of the project, MIT D-Lab and its local partners Universidad Nacional, Uniminuto, and C-Innova will have trained 250 small-scale gold miners in CCB for designing technology and businesses. These participants are drawn from two mining regions in Antioquia Colombia: Andes and Bajo Cauca (locations with very different approaches to mercury use in mining). Ultimately, MIT D-Lab anticipates that 10-20 new ventures will emerge from these trainings, developing and offering new technologies and approaches that improve the safety, health, and livelihoods of people living in these communities.

Recent Grantees Stories

Freedom in Practice
Read More
Freedom in Practice
Read More
icon-social-share-linkedin Created with Sketch.
icon-play Created with Sketch.
icon-download Created with Sketch.