Strengthening resilience in Mali

Strengthening resilience in Mali

06/02/2019

In Mali, many agropastoral households in the central regions – Mopti and Ségou – have suffered from the impact of socio-political crisis in northern Mali. This has triggered tensions among local communities over scarce resources and adversely affected households’ livelihoods, forcing people to migrate and exacerbating the already precarious food security and nutrition of vulnerable people.

Together with the Government, FAO and partners are supporting initiatives to build communities’ resilience. The caisses de résilience approach builds on the strengths of agropastoral field schools to enhance communities’ resilience in a participatory manner. The project targets 2 500 people, half of whom are women, and has three dimension – technical, financial and social. At the technical level, the project supports crop diversification to increase household production. Beneficiaries also receive animals with a short reproductive cycle to restore households’ access to income and productive assets. Women benefit from nutrition education to promote the diversified diets and consumption of nutritious food. Regarding the financial aspect, the project  supports village savings and loan associations (VSLAs), allowing women to access income and improve their financial management skills. The collective actions and decision making strengthen social cohesion.

Nearly all beneficiaries reported being satisfied with the agropastoral field schools, how the leaders were selected, the number of sessions and the content of the trainings. As of October 2018, 100 VSLAs were established and all 2 548 members were trained. The combined amount of shares purchased by all VSLAs was of XOF 28.8 million (approximately USD 50 000), community funds amounted to XOF 3.9 million (USD 6 800), XOF 23.2 million (approximately USD 40 000) of credits were granted in total, of which XOF 12.4 million (USD 21 500) went to men and XOF 10.8 million (USD 18 500) to women.

In the Ségou region, Sanihan lives in the village of Baramandougou, with 13 family members. During the lean season, her husband engages in seasonal agricultural labour, while she struggles to provide for her family alone as food and seed supplies are depleted following repeated droughts. Thanks to FAO’s caisses de réilience prgramme, she benefited from seeds and cash transfers allowing her to cultivate her plot for the first time in five years. “The harvest will certainly be sufficient to restore food stocks to last us throughout the lean season”, she says, and “with the XOF 50 000 received, I was able to buy millet and goats. Once they will have given birth, I will sell them to be able to cover other expenses”, she says proudly.

She is also looking forward to new opportunities. Sanihan, like other beneficiaries of the project in the Ségou and Mopti regions, received training in good agricultural and pastoral practices as the project is linked to agropastoral field schools, and she is enrolled in a VSLA. The aim is to enable agropastoral field school/VSLA members to improve their management and financial capacities.