The Tuareg rebellion led by the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) followed by the unexpected coup of 22 March 2012 that overthrew the government of President Amadou Toumani Toure in Mali have contributed negatively to the challenges such as drought and internal displacement that were affecting the citizens. Local populations in the affected areas have been fleeing from mostly rebel-controlled areas of the north, towards the south of the country and neighbouring countries including Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mauritania and Niger. The situation has deteriorated in areas controlled by rebels including Gao, Kidal and Tombouctou.
Added to the socio-political crisis, Mali in the Sahel region is also increasingly threatened by desert encroachment. The competition for scarce water and land resources has led to more frequent local conflicts. The large number of small arms in the region further fuels banditry and violence. Culturally, the society is male dominated with huge gender inequalities and disparities. Pastoralists make up about 10 per cent of Mali's population and are considered to be among the most marginalised and vulnerable people in the country. On the positive side, an active and dynamic civil society is emerging in the region and under the new decentralised framework civil society is becoming instrumental in influencing policies.
ACORD has been working in Mali since 1976. We seek to contribute to the promotion of food sovereignty in the region, advocating for policies and legislation that is favourable to the promotion of the fundamental rights of pastoral and agro-pastoral communities and leading to improvement in their livelihoods.
>> Gender and women's empowerment: as a result of ACORD's gender sensitisation activities, pastoralists and agro-pastoralists demonstrate more respect for the role of women and girls in relation to food security. They are more concerned about women's welfare and recognise their rights. Other spheres of development that put women in focus such as social equilibrium within households, schooling, health and child care have equally received support from community elders and decision makers. Men are more willing to accept that their spouses take part in advocacy and negotiation on matters that affect them such as migration of livestock in search of pasture in the West of the Sahel.
>> Livelihoods: our programme trains community members on agricultural production, conservation and transformation and enhances sharing of local knowledge in a bid to improve livelihoods. In addition, community leaders are regularly trained in environmental analysis and advocacy. Every year around 700 people receive adult literacy education. Milk factories and cattle markets are built and then managed by the communities to contribute to income generation. This has impacted positively on social perceptions and practices of men vis-à-vis women and the youth.
A WATER AND SANITATION PROJECT INSPIRES SOCIAL CHANGE IN TROKONINA VILLAGE
ACORD’s belief that people are the primary actors in their own survival and development is evidenced in the village of Trokonina in Kita, in the Kayes region of Mali, where ACORD is implementing a three-year water and sanitation project, thanks to the support of the Swiss Cooperation (DDC) through Caritas Switzerland. The project aims to improve access to safe water for household use and livestock consumption as well as access of communities to better sanitation facilities and hygiene practices. With the community at its core, the project aims to strengthen ownership and eventual sustainability of the interventions, including through methodologies like Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) which are very critical in building community competence to address their water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)-related challenges.
Where we work in Mali
ACORD supports local organisations in Timbuktu, Niafunke, Youwarou and Tenenkou regions of Mali. These local organisations work with pastoralist communities to improve access to water, education and credit facilities. ACORD is also supporting women groups engaged in banking and cooperative entrepreneurship in Lere.
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Our partners in Mali
ACORD collaborates with local non-governmental organisations that demonstrate high levels of competence and capacity. This way, ACORD can effectively contribute to the development of capacities and expertise in the partner organisation. International NGOs are also important to ACORD's Africa-wide response to programmatic interests. Partnerships and alliance building processes are coordinated through the regional office in Mali.
ACORD has worked closely with Oxfam Intermon to campaign for economic justice for small holders. ACORD in Mali receives valuable support from Caritas Suisse, CCFD-Terre Solidaire, CIDA, the Dutch Government's FLOW programme and Jersey Overseas Aid.
Photos, videos and publications
Cycles of violence: gender relations and armed conflict: What is the impact of war on gender relations? And can gender relations contribute to conflict? Findings of ACORD's research carried out in five communities living in the shadow of violent conflict in Sudan, Angola, Mali, Uganda and Somalia.
Marching toward social justice in West Africa (DVD, 2011). Find out how marginalised and too often excluded communities in West Africa organize themselves and work towards upholding their fundamental rights, in particular their Right to Food.
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Photos of ACORD's work in Mali can be sent upon request. Contact us by e-mail.
How you can support communities in Mali
Your contribution to ACORD in Mali is guaranteed to make a lasting impact upon the most vulnerable communities. Peace-building efforts require massive and sustained advocacy and sensitisation of local populations. Everyone needs to be involved in the process for meaningful change in community interaction patterns, attitudes towards the scarce natural resources in the Sahel, and to nurture peace and tolerance among members of communities.
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