Adam is a young Malian activist who fights for the youth to be heard: “We cannot count on the authorities to give us our rights. You have to defend them,” she said. Photo: Sylvain Cherkaoui / Oxfam
In Mali, the crisis resulting from the pro-independence and terrorist groups taking control of the North of the country from 2012 to 2013 and the coup d’état of March 2012 has created a situation of insecurity, in both the North and the centre of the country. Although the Algiers Agreement was signed in 2015, difficulties persist in its implementation. The presence of international forces in the North ensures relative stability, but the terrorist groups are adapting their modus operandi. They are now mainly targeting the Malian armed forces and the various partners that have come to help the country. Terrorist groups are seeking to take advantage of the climate of instability to firmly establish their presence in the centre of Mali, particularly near the borders with Niger and Burkina Faso. They also attack symbols and representatives of the State.
Mali has been facing chronic food shortages in recent years, exacerbated by the persistent insecurity that is hindering livelihoods and access to basic services. Mali was ranked 182nd in the 2018 Human Development Index (HDI) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Oxfam in Mali
Oxfam’s vision for Mali is: “A Mali at peace, where social injustice and inequalities are reduced, so that women, men, girls and boys can fully exercise and enjoy their rights”. Three strategic objectives have been adopted to achieve this vision:
- Resilience of communities and sustainable livelihoods
- Good governance, peace and citizen participation
- Access to basic social services
To that end, Oxfam is working with people on the ground to find solutions based on the local communities’ knowledge, expertise, and resources.
Providing humanitarian aid in periods of crisis and climate emergency
Oxfam is supporting families whose lives have been upturned by conflict or drought. In the North, we are contributing to strengthening livelihoods and are helping communities return to normalcy by paying the inhabitants to repair old dykes and distributing “agricultural kits” and money to enable families to get through the hard times. We are also providing food aid to households in difficulty in the wake of the food crisis, in order to improve and diversify their diets. We are also supporting livestock farmers by building new wells and buying livestock.
In addition, we are working to ensure that communities are better prepared to cope with future disasters. We are training families in budget management and ways of preventing malnutrition.
Stimulating employment and entrepreneurship for women and youth
Oxfam is supporting the socio-economic development of women and youth through vocational training, employment and entrepreneurship support, and by increasing the security of small-scale farming.
We help women start small businesses and train them in seed production and market gardening. Through our “Girls Can” program, we are encouraging girls to continue studying into adolescence. Indeed, although many leave education after primary school, this program offers them catch-up classes, provides better school supplies and offers gifts to female pupils who achieve good results.
Supporting citizens’ participation in good governance
We offer moral support and help develop skills that women and youth need to make their voices heard and to hold the State, the private sector and multinationals accountable for abuses of power and violations of their rights. In particular, we involve them in budget controls of public affairs, thus helping ensure accountable and transparent State governance in favour of marginalized people.
We are also working to establish and maintain a culture of peace and social cohesion in local societies through local mechanisms for conflict resolution and natural resource management.