In Mali, firewood and charcoal are the most common sources of energy, contributing to about 90 % of all energy use, and over 95% of domestic energy needs. The cities with 25% of the total population are the biggest consumers of firewood and charcoal. This wood is supplied by surrounding countryside.

Firewood and charcoal are important source of income for rural women. In Mali, women are traditionally in charge of looking for firewood in the forest to meet the household needs, and when wood and charcoal has become a business, it is still in hands of women. Women are in charge of many household expenses, and wood selling is the most important source of income for a big part of the year. In the areas near to the main roads and in the surroundings of the cities, deforestation has become a big problem due to this wood- business.

Sinsibere project to reduce woodcutting through provision of alternative sources of income generation

The linkage between reduced forest cover and erosion and desertification is not well understood by population, and generally planting of new trees is not taking place. And even if the problem is understood, it is difficult to deal with, because people don't have any other source of income to substitute the income gained from wood selling, and they don't have skills or capital for starting something new.

The department of Gender, energy and environment is dealing with these issues. The problems are attacked by environmental education, and development of new, more environmentally sustainable income generating activities for rural women. Also emphasizing importance of planting new trees and introduction of energy efficient stoves is part of the activities of the department.

Download article published in "Notre Environnement", a journal supported by GTZ and the Malian Ministry of Environment, regarding CRIC 3 desertification convention and MFC's Sinsibere project.