More than 1,600 people were killed in Mali in 2019, and attacks continued to be carried out by armed groups. But while attacks are rightfully grabbing the headlines, they are only part of a larger problem. While violence continues between Islamists and the Malian army, the majority of deaths and displacements are due to increasing violence on a local level. Responding to feelings of insecurity and state neglect, communities are setting up militias and self-defence groups.
Lessons from peacebuilders
While the spread of violence is concerning in Mali, our efforts focus on extending the reach and impact of peacebuilding work. In 2019, 1,026 people benefitted from local peacebuilding initiatives, made possible by grants given by Peace Direct and with financial support from the Canadian government. This number includes those receiving direct support and capacity building training to implement projects, as well as community members directly participating in projects.
In addition, we also partner with AJCAT (the Youth Association for Active Citizenship and Democracy), working on peace and security, citizenship, and development in Mali.
We learn from our peacebuilding partners every day, and these are some of the lessons we can share from our work in Mali.
Peacebuilders are stronger together
We supported 20 projects in Mali in 2019, involving 40 organisations implementing a variety of community led projects, including projects led by women and young people aimed at strengthening their resilience to violence, as well as conflict management and inter-community consultations. With intercommunal violence on the rise in Mali, bringing communities together to build trust and to reconcile differences is vital. The support we have provided have enabled clusters of organisations to come together to implement peacebuilding activities collaboratively.
Take the lead from female peacebuilders
In Sikasso, we supported a project which trained women to be community leaders in conflict prevention and management. The work was successful in reducing violence in the community. “Without this project I would not know how to properly analyse conflicts and how to be a good mediator. Because of this project, there will be no more conflicts between the Fulani and Dogon in Kouro Barrage. We have been strengthened by this project. I have a feeling of satisfaction because through this project we met and talked about our problems without quarrel and with respect.” – A consortium member in Koulikoro
The work we support is spreading the message that dialogue, not violence, is key to building safe and resilient communities.
Our work in Mali is made possible with support from Global Affairs Canada.
“There has been a lot of change in the last year, the community dialogue session brought together all sections of the community including women leaders, youth, traditional and religious leaders… The changes achieved are very important because we are now strengthened in terms of conflict analysis and we are actually able to prevent conflict. The two parties at the centre of the conflict have contact with each other within Kouro Barrage.”
– Balè Poudiougou, a project participant from a local peacebuilding organisation