In early 2007, MFC started on a new path using a more sophisticated approach. As opposed to early technology driven projects, a new methodology was initiated that would build capacity of local populations to take charge of their own local development processes.
These projects represent a more integrated approach to a broader vision of socio-economic development for rural populations, through increased participation in local goernment process adn egagement with Mali's decentralisation process, whereby more decision making power is devolved to the municiaplities. This requires building of trust, creation of checks and balances, and increased transparency. Capacity must be built up, not just of populations but of elected muicipal officals.
The first ambitious project to address governance was Yere Yiriwa. The objective of this innovative project, funded by the Danish Embassy in Mali, is to build the capacity of local communities so that they can play their full role as citizens and become actors for their own development at the village and commune level. The project is facilitating the emergence of grassroots groups to defend their interests and improve cooperation with the commune authorities, and foster a new deeper cooperation. The project will allow the population to work with their local municipal officials to develop poverty reduction activities which can create sustainable livelihoods. The project is being carried out in the rural municipalities of Koumantou & Garalo.
Anmilal Ye Titite
This project is also funded by the Danish Embassy and is based on the successful Yere Yiriwa project. However, it takes the model and applies it in the more extreme climate of the Tombouctou Region of Mali, right on the southern edge of the Sahara, where livelihoods have been completely destabilised by the effects of Climate Change, and previously migratory populations have been forced to sedentarise due to lack of rainfall (and thus drinking water). Here the challenge is great to support cooperation and initiation of economic activities which are adapted to these new conditions.
Both the projects involve building capacity of all actors, until they are capacble of developing from the bottom up (i.e. starting at the village level) priority microprojects which can set up new income generating activities in the municipalitites, and develp the concept and execute it in cooperation with the Mairie. This gives concrete experience of participation in local administration and of cooperating to achieve results together.
In each participating village, the populations selected from among themselves one woman and one man to represent them in the projects. The projects have so far been very successful in building capacity of these "animatrices" and "animateurs" from the village populations, until they can represent their village and defend their villages interest in local government meetings. For some women, the project has encourgaed them to take literacy classes in order to be able to participate fully in the project and in other activities in the future.
If you would like more information on MFC's good governance and decentralisation activities, please contact Diakalia Traore at MFC. His email address is diak.traore*malifolkecenter.org (please replace the * with @).