Diakonia - People change the world


Together with our partner organizations, which are national and local NGOs, Diakonia works in most regions of Mali. After the elections in 2013, Diakonia and our partner organizations have increased the work related to democracy, with a special focus on transparency and accountability.

10/29/2013 Publisher: Nicolas Sidibé

Poor population

Mali is situated in the inner parts of Western Africa, and has a rich cultural heritage. In the Middle Ages, the desert town of Timbuktu was known as one of the Muslim world's most important cities for education, and today, modern Malian music has made an impact worldwide. But economically, Mali is still one of the poorest countries in Africa.

Although rich in minerals and one of the world's largest gold producers – in 2010 gold accounted for more than 80 per cent of Mali's export – only a very small portion of the revenues seep down to the people of Mali.

The large majority of the population earn their living through agriculture or livestock breeding. At the same time, more people are moving to the cities. The capital Bamako, which as of 2013 has got 2 million inhabitants, is considered the city in Africa growing fastest and the sixth fastest growing city in the world.

Elections bring hope for democracy

In March 2012, a coup d'etat started in Northern Mali, just a few weeks before the planned elections in the country. This affected the citizens of northern Mali severely, and by June 2012, more than 200 000 people had been forced to flee to neighbouring countries. After the coup d'etat, Diakonia has worked closely with partner organizations to ensure that the needs of the people affected by the conflict are satisfied.

In 2013, Diakonia supported the training of election observers, in order to secure fair and democratic elections after the coup d'etat.

As the situation in Mali is changing, so is the Diakonia programme. After the presidential elections in 2013, our partner organizations are now increasing their focus on supporting democratic systems, with transparency and possibility for right holders to hold decision makers accountable being the highest priorities.

Impact on climate change issues

In the beginning of 2013, Diakonia supported the organizational procedure of the fifth edition of the Annual National Environment Forum in Mali on "Citizenship and Climate Justice". At the conference, several recommendations were put forward, like for example:

The government, locally elected officials and development partners must work together to mainstream gender for a sustainable management of natural resources and for fighting against climate change.

Local governments must establish "Environmental Paralegal kiosks" in each municipality for legal assistance to rural communities. This will enable them to take better ownership of the laws and regulations relating to natural resource management.

Progress made

Another of Diakonia's focus areas in Mali is the issue of gender inequalities, violence and harmful practices against women and girls. Diakonia's partner organizations have contributed to the diminishing tof violence against women, for example in regards to the practice of female genital mutilation. Our partner organizations also work to increase  access to basic services such as health, clean drinking water and education for marginalized groups in society.


Read more about our work in Mali

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