Mali: amplifying the voice of women in society

July 26, 2023

Malian women have yet to realize their full potential as agents of change in their society. Many of them are working for greater social benefits in their communities, and for improved social cohesion and peace-building. But all too often, many obstacles  prevent them from doing anything about it. Among these, the weight of socio-cultural norms, lack of access to education and their absence from decision-making processes limit progress on this issue.

In response to this situation, Interpeace and its local partner Aide au D√©veloppement Durable (ADD) officially launched the European Union (EU)-funded project “Voix des femmes: amplifier l’engagement citoyen et le r√īle des femmes en agents de changement au Mali” in Bamako on Thursday July 13. Until 2025, women’s organisations in the north of the country, in the center and in the capital region will be supported in strengthening their organisational capacities. Dialogue with traditional chiefs and authorities will be extended. And advocacy efforts will be conducted with a number of key players to increase the role of these women in peace-building.

Among the speeches made at the launch of the project, Ndeye Sow, representative of the Minister for the Promotion of Women, Children and the Family and advisor in charge of women’s empowerment, noted that the project “comes at just the right time, as it responds perfectly to the concerns of the highest authorities of the transition for the emergence of a new Mali”. “We can only welcome this great ¬†initiative”, she added.

Present at the ceremony, the mayor of the district of Bamako, Oumarou Togo, invited Interpeace, its partner ADD and all stakeholders to invest “to make this project an unprecedented success for the benefit of the target women’s civil society organisations”. The success of “Voix de femmes” will depend on “the effective involvement of all stakeholders at all levels”, remarked Interpeace Regional Representative Maria Alessia Polidoro.

This commitment is by no means a first for Interpeace in the country. Having been present since 2013, the organisation had already carried out an extensive assessment of Mali’s peacebuilding challenges. In this participatory action research (PAR) involving over 5,000 people in eight regions of the country and in refugee camps in three neighboring states, it identified the main obstacles to progress as being the erosion of societal values, lack of access to employment for young people andproblems of governance and insecurity.

Since then, several projects have been established, the most recent being “Voix de femmes”. To ensure broad involvement, regional and national advisory committees will be launched to guide all initiatives and activities. The aim is always to make women’s voices heard more widely in Mali.