As noted from the United Nations Development Program, the ‘cycle of poverty’ is the result of a large number of artisanal or small-scale miners with limited capital for equipment, land tenure, or education. These miners suffer low productivity, low recovery, and health hazards with the additional consequences stemming from damaging the natural environment. The results are subsistence incomes that do not allow investment to improve production, future incomes, or protection of the environment (United Nations Economic and Social Council 2003). The artisanal mining cycle of poverty is complex and efforts to successfully break the cycle require a holistic understanding of all the factors to answer the questions of who, what, how and why the cycle exists.
Without a holistic understanding of these factors, efforts to significantly break the cycle of poverty risk by focusing on issues that may not have a significant impact on the cycle, or even worse, may actually reinforce the cycle. A critical step to understanding the artisanal mining cycle of poverty and health requires creating or the creation of a holistic model of this process. The platform has been attempted by various authors, Noetstaller (1995), Sinding (2005), Heemskerk (2005) and Hinton (2005); however, the new partnership entity between SeedRock and the Salama Shield Foundation is a perfect fit for implementing on SSF’s strength as a holistic and conceptually- driven organization that has mobilized communities in Southwestern Uganda for more than twenty years.