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Forest project gets thumbs-up from Norwegian Ambassador

16 May 2018

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  • Webmaster MFC
  • 2018

Forest project gets thumbs-up from Norwegian Ambassador

Bougouni-Yanfolila Forest Complex came under scrutiny by Ole Andreas Lindeman, Ambassador of Norway, the main backer of the large Arbre-SEL project

“I am impressed by the community… It will really make a difference”.

Those were the words of the Norwegian Ambassador Ole Andreas Lindeman who paid a visit to Garalo last Thursday. The village in the Sikasso region hosts great parts of Mali Folkecenter’s project: “Arbre-SEL” or “Trees as Support for Local Economy”.

The ambassador was particularly impressed by the way the community had taken ownership of the project. The Arbre-SEL intervention is bottom-up, managed almost entirely by the community itself.

Reception at the dairy

Mr. Lindeman and his delegation was guided through the village and saw some of the income-generating activities, like the dairy and the shea butter production sites, and was briefed about the reconciliation project for breeders and farmers in the region that have clashed over ownership of land.

He witnessed an alphabetization session, talked to women’s groups and representatives of hunters that are in charge of the efforts to protect the endangered forests.

In a speech to the community the ambassador stressed that local strong commitment and cooperation is the key to development. In Garalo that commitment was striking in the light of the overall fragile state of affairs in Mali, he said.

Mr. Lindeman spoke of the importance of trees, which is the main component of the SEL project but also underlined that Norwegian commitment to Mali expands into other areas, like projects in the education sector and in assuring food security.

In the particular field of the fight against climate change the ambassador stressed that Mali-Folkecenter is an obvious partner for Norway:

“The work they do is very professional and impressive. I will propose that we continue the cooperation”.

He summed up his observations during this half-day long visit under the hot Sikasso sun by promising “a bit of help” from Norway in the future. “We shall be very proud to do that”, he said.

Forward together with the Mayor of Garalo, Mr. Youssouf Kanté

Read more about the Arbre-SEL project and the forest challenges facing Sikasso and Mali here

Cover picture shows Zoumana Sangaré, Président of Intercommunality Bougouni South and mayor of Tiamala Banimotiè, Ambassador Lindeman and Youssouf Kané Mayor Garalo.