Environment & Development in Mali

Mali is a landlocked country located in the heart of West Africa. For several decades the country has been experiencing degradation of its natural resources, among other things resulting in the spread of desertification in the Sahel and Sahara zones that cover ¾ of its territory.

In these areas, the population is largely dependent on weather conditions and in particular rainfall. Indeed, in the Sahel zone, social and economic development is closely related to the status and management of natural resources. However, these same resources must meet the needs of a population that is growing at an explosive rate (3% per year).

PU has been active for many years in this region, and since 2006 in the framework of the Environment and Development program.

« Green Mopti »

The "Green Mopti" project aims to contribute to the the fight against desertification as well as adapting to climate change by reducing the ecological and socioeconomic vulnerabilities of the population in the region of Mopti.

The "Green Mopti" project is divided into 2 complementary parts.

1. Protecting the natural forest cover and enhancing the effectiveness of the wood for energy sector

  • by establishing plantation plots for the production of wood for energy
  • by training charcoal producers in improved production techniques that will increase the quantities of charcoal produced from the same volume of wood
  • by expanding micro credit for improved, more efficient stoves than traditional ones, making it possible to reduce domestic consumption of wood.

2. Restoring forest cover and enhancing food security through agro-ecological practices

  • by producing 950 family agro-forestry plots of about 1 hectare to sustainably produce forestry products (wood for fuel, fodder, etc) and non-timber products (fruit, gums, etc)
  • digging wells and developing market gardening as a source of income and food security in the short term for beneficiaries.

Local partners

The operational partners in Mali:

  • Benkadi : cooperative nurseries in the towns of Mopti and Sio
  • Planète Verte in the community of Fatoma
  • Planète Vigilance Action in the community of Konna
  • Grassroots community organizations: women's groups and charcoal producers' groups in Konna and Sio

Institutional partners:

  • Mali's National Nature Conservation Department (DNCN) with the signature of a framework agreement that means PU's work is recognized by the state of Mali.
  • Local authorities: Mopti Region and Cercle, municipal authorities in Sio, Konna, Fatoma and Mopti, as well as the traditional authorities.
  • The local associations in the various areas: Sio, Fatoma and Konna for identifying and dividing up the plots.

Project methodology

Protecting forest cover and enhancing the effectiveness of the wood for energy sector

The project aims to assist the local institutional authorities (Mopti Cercle, towns, Department of Water and Forests) and traditional authorities (village chiefs, village assemblies) in supporting community management of their natural resources. These authorities are involved in defining and monitoring activities related to protecting forest cover.

The canopy will be protected by:

  • producing wood to meet the energy needs of households
  • training in improved charcoal production techniques for twenty to thirty charcoal producers in the communities involved
  • distributing, by means of micro-credit, improved 2nd generation stoves (30% to 50% better efficiency compared to a traditional "three stones" hearth) in the communities where the plantations have been set up, in order to reduce wood consumption.

Restoring the natural forest cover and enhancing food security through appropriate agro-ecological practices

The model of restoring forest cover promoted in this project is geared towards developing 950 family agro-forestry plots of one hectare, each with a well, a market gardening area and 1,050 forest and fruit trees.

The trees planted are:

  • hedges, which protect the soil from wind erosion and wandering animals. They are made up of various species (mesquite, parkinsonia, henna, jujube, eucalyptus, jatropha, shea butter, acacia albida) that can provide firewood or timber, fodder and food products
  • fruit trees: mango, guava, grafted jujube, baobabs, néré, etc.

When the plots are established, wells must be dug by the villagers as a prerequisite before starting planting and market gardening activities. It reflects the owner's motivation to be part of the project. In return for the effort put in by the farmer, PU finances laying concrete pipes and coping stones which can greatly extend the life of the well by preventing collapse.

Monitoring activities

Throughout the year, plant counting in the plots is organized by PU, coordinators in partner organizations and beneficiaries. Records are listed in a database that centralizes all information gathered and allows various indicators to be established.

"Priority food security and aid"

Launched in August 2012, the priority food security and aid project (ASAP) is designed to limit the effects of the food crisis for displaced families hosted in rural areas in the Mopti and Djenne Cercles. It is financially supported by the French Interministerial Committee for Food Aid (CIAA).

The project is based on two priority areas: food aid and food security

As a first step, and to meet the urgency of the food crisis, 3,800 aid kits are distributed in rural areas to alleviate food insecurity for displaced persons, host families and malnourished children. 800 "family" kits are distributed and used to meet the priority requirements of a family of about 10 people for two months. These kits consist of:

  • 200 kg of cereals (rice, sorghum, millet, maize)
  • 20 liters of vegetable oil
  • 10 kg of salt
  • 10 kg of sugar
  • 3 treated mosquito nets
  • basic equipment sets (sleeping mat, improved stove)

3,000 "pediatric" kits, with enriched flour, are also given to community health centers for children suffering from malnutrition.

Secondly, to limit the effects of any future food crisis, PU supports the implementation of activities that improve food security for vulnerable rural families and supports cereal banks in rural communities.

Distribution of improved rice and cowpea seed and market gardening kits (seeds and small tools) to families, combined with training farmers, increases local agricultural production, food diversification and reduces vulnerability to climate events. In addition, the allocation of 150 tonnes of cereals to cereal banks in affected communities allows grain stocks to be reconstituted in anticipation of a future food crisis.