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The ‘tour de force’ of Mali

In Mali there are many challenges. ICCO supports projects, local people and organizations that work on economic development and conflict transformation in the country.

The ‘tour de force’ of Mali

According to Réki Garba (photo), coordinator of the project ‘Addressing the Root Causes of Conflict and Violence’, Mali can restore the stability because the majority of the population wants to resolve the conflict.

But the Malians also asked to listen better to their needs and desires.Since the beginning of 2012, Mali witnesses the worst insecurity in its contemporary history. A mix of ethnic tensions, the desire for independence of the Touareg, influx of jihadists and weak governance have caused this situation. Although an Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation has been reached by some parties in 2015, the situation is far from secure. It has continued to deteriorate reaching new proportions from 2016. For example, most recently, the month of June 2017 has recorded several attacks, the most recent of which has been perpetrated in the suburbs of Bamako.

ICCO and its partners contribute to enhancing human security in the country through a mix of economic development ánd human rights projects. The map shows 10 programs ICCO is (co-)implementing in various partnerships throughout the country. The newest program is funded by the European Union and plans to create thousands of jobs for young people, among them returning migrants from Europe.

Programs in Mali

Addressing the Root Causes of Conflict and Violence

Another, more justice-focused project is called ‘Addressing the Root Causes of Conflict and Violence’ (ARC). The coordinator is Réki Amadou Garba, who originates from Niger and has 15 years of experience in conflict analysis and resolution. She worked for the UN, EU, the French Agency for Development  and the government of Niger.

ARC is a partnership between HSC, NCA, Kerk in Actie and ICCO, in cooperation with local NGOs. Réki: “ARC searches ways to reconcile ethnic groups, religions, contradictions between rural and urban people and between the population and the authorities in general. Unfortunately there is much discontent in the country. The Malians expect the government to protect them better and be proactive in tackling the country’s problems. But again and again they are disappointed by the authorities and feel neglected. The recent announced referendum about a change in the Constitution has caused new tensions”.  

Not desperate

Réki: “Still, I’m very hopeful. We did a baseline study and found that a large proportion of beneficiaries (68,8%) believe they are able to contribute to conflict resolution in the country. In sum, the study shows a clear willingness of communities, leaders and civil society organizations to be actors of peace and stability in the program area. The people of Mali are not desperate. On the contrary, they are full of hope that things can be changed and lasting peace achieved”. Anyway, 80.6% of respondents believe that their locality is in the process of regaining peace and stability.

The ARC program tries to build bridges and restore trust between groups and authorities. Réki: “We have have a diverse range of peacebuilding strategies. Some examples of actions to be implemented:

  • Establishing local structures for non-violent conflict resolution, including resource persons (community leaders, religious leaders, women, youth, and representatives of repatriated refugees and ethnic and social minorities). Resource Person Teams will be trained and accompanied to analyze, manage and resolve conflicts.
  • Strengthening the peace-building capacities and communication on conflict-sensitive issues of religious leaders and media.
  • Increasing good governance and accountability practices.
  • Setting up a civil society network in order to put the needs of the communities on the table of national and international authorities and to facilitate dialogue and knowledge management between the actors concerned by security issues at various levels.

Women, youth, media and religious leaders of all religions are important and very influential people in reconciliation and peacebuilding”. The ARC approach increases the chances of security and stabilization, because it makes it possible to work on different pillars.

Réki:”Hope and peace are possible in Mali. The people want that eagerly, now is time to listen to their needs so the separated worlds of the authorities and the people can be brought together".

Watch the video interview with Réki Garba.

For more information about the ACR project contact Réki Garba: r.garba@icco.nl