Partners for Resilience in Mali

For ten years, CARE has supported communities in the inner Niger Delta by strengthening resilience, unifying their efforts and interests, to engage the government for inclusive DRR, integrating climate and ecosystems.

© Marie-Eve Bertrand/CARE

Mali is particularly vulnerable to climate change, with environmental degradation as one of the main drivers of disaster risk. In recent years, the intensity of floods and droughts has increased, threatening economic development and livelihoods. This is worsened by increasing insecurity through the presence of terrorists and self-defence groups and the proliferation of small arms. In the Niger, Sourou and Senegal river basins, rural communities are often hit hardest by floods and droughts.

Women, children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to increased levels of poverty. Different resource needs can lead to conflicts over land use. Abundant grassroots organisations represent farmers, pastoralists and fishers’ diverging interests, lobbying the same decision-makers. In this rapidly changing context, a consortium of CARE, The Netherlands Red Cross, Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre and Wetlands International implemented the Partners for Resilience programme for ten years, funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This publication outlines CARE’s main achievements.

Fanta Bocoum’s story of resilience

Fanta Bocoum is a mother of four living in Ouenkoro in the district of Bankass. When Fanta became a widow, she was forced to abandon her land. This made her vulnerable, in a context where land is the main means of production. Through CARE’s Partners for Resilience programme, Fanta got involved in a women’s union and a municipal coalition that were trained to better organise and advocate for land tenure systems.

Fanta lobbied elected officials, traditional chiefs and landowners for changes to land tenure and the allocation of land to women. “The land is everything to us. Without it, we cannot live,” she proclaimed. The mayor, traditional landowner and the sub-prefect in her district listened and signed an agreement to transfer property to Fanta and other women in Ouenkoro. Now Fanta is an inspiration to many and is determined to continue her efforts in local politics. “I’m using my voice, and it’s working,” she said. In Fanta’s community, resilience means that women have rightful ownership of land.