Diakonia - People change the world
In her village, Fatoumata is a leader and the one standing in the forefront in the fight against climate change.

Mali: Adapting to climate change

Fatoumata Almoudidjé is recognized as the most determined person in the fight against the climate change in her village Douekiré, Mali. This is her story:

4/27/2012 Publisher: Ida Svensson

Alarming effects of climate change

In this village, at the gate of the Sahara desert, 40 kilometers from Timbuktu, the effects of the climate change are very alarming. The agriculture in the area has become precarious and it is no longer giving sufficient output to ensure the food security of the population.

However, with the support of Diakonia’s partner organization AMSS, the population and the decision makers have mobilized themselves in order to stop the man-made degradation of their environment.

AMSS, which is one of Diakonia's partner organizations in Mali, have for a long time worked together with the local population to combat and control the effects of climate change. The organization also strive to change policies regarding climate and environment on a local level.

A role model with ambitions for the future

Fatoumata, from a lower cast and a mother of seven children, is one of the pioneers, today serving as a role model for others. In addition to the family’s small-scaled farming activities, she is a community leader of other women in Douékiré and above all the creator of a very successful nursery in Douékiré. However, her ambitions for the future go far beyond what she has already achieved.

Lack of water leads to food insecurity

Everything has not always been easy for Fatoumata. Her family, as well as many other families in Douékiré and the surrounding areas, lost their principal means of production as the land where they used to cultivate their food has been deteriorated during the last 10-15 years.

This is because many formerly flooded lakes have dried up due to climate change and man-made draining of the lakes to manage recurring droughts. Trees and other fragile natural resources are under threat of extermination. As a consequence, the agriculture in the area is no longer able to ensure the food security of the population.

Sustainable management and conflict prevention

In collaboration with Diakonia, AMSS started a project for sustainable management of natural resources and conflict prevention in Douékiré and four other neighboring municipalities in the province of Goudam. The strategy of the project was to support primarily the women to develop sustainable methods to use natural resources and get access to land. AMSS used the existing women’s organizations to raise the consciousness of the women about their role in the environmental degradation and to mobilize them to take up the fight against it.

A business that involves many women

Through her participation in the sessions of “Communication for Behavior Change” held by AMSS, Fatoumata learnt and reflected upon the role and place of women in the preservation and management of natural resources.

Convinced that she could take action to change the situation in Douékiré, this woman from one of the lower casts in the society decided to ask the local political and traditional authorities for a parcel where she could start a nursery of trees. Fatoumata’s request was approved and she soon started managing her own nursery at the banks of the river in Douékiré.

Now the main supplier of tree plants

Eventually Fatoumata has become the main supplier of tree plants such as eucalyptus in the municipality of Douékiré and its surroundings. Today, her production capacity is more than twenty thousand saplings per year. She manages to sell plants at a turnover of 16,000 SEK per year, equivalent to almost three times the minimum wage in Mali. She recognizes today that she is doing well in her business.

Financially independent - a new position in life

Fatoumata, who earlier did not have any resources at all, is today able to ensure family expenses such as food, education, health as well as the costs that have to be paid for the marriages of her four daughters.

As a result of her important contribution to the expenditures of the household, Fatoumata feels more valued in her family. Her new financial independence has given to her a stronger position in the decision making not only in her own household but also within the community. Fatoumata occupies an increasingly important social place in Douékiré. Very committed to the emancipation of the woman, she is a leader of the women’s association of the village. She also trains other women in the production of seedlings and the establishment of nurseries in other villages in the municipality.