Our Success in
Started working in Mali
Direct Beneficiaries & Program Participants
(Women & Girls)
The Situation in Mali
In 2019, RET registered in Mali.
Since 2005, the Sahel region has been suffering from unprecedented repeated humanitarian crises, leaving the vast majority of the population exposed to multidimensional adversities. A number of pressing challenges, including a nutrition crisis, life-threatening poverty, climate change effects, escalating violence and insecurities are affecting extremely vulnerable families and causing irregular migration and displacement. It is estimated that nearly 6 million people in the affected regions (Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad and Senegal) need urgent assistance.
Violent Extremism – Armed Groups – Ethnic Clashes
Violent extremism regional threat poses a solemn security challenge to the region and especially to the Lake Basin region, displacing people and forcing hundreds of thousands of civilians to flee their home. Adding to the Lake Basin crisis, the ethnic clashes and armed conflicts in the northern part of Mali are causing a high rate of Internally Displaced People (IDP’s) and refugees in Mauritania. According to United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), “the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) across the region has increased five-fold in one year. Armed attacks, are directly targeting schools and forcing health centers to close, jeopardizing the future of thousands of children and depriving violence-affected communities of critical services.” Suicide bombers have killed thousands of civilians in indiscriminate attacks especially in Nigeria. These violent conflicts have pushed the communities to the verge of starvation. Armed groups conduct transnational organized crime, such as human trafficking and migrant smuggling. Initiatives to address these threats include the FC-G5S and the Multinational Joint Task Force, established by Lake Chad Basin countries to fight armed groups.
Climate Shocks & Food Insecurities:
The humanitarian situation in the Sahel has been aggravated by erratic rainfall in 2017, contributing to significant damage to properties, insufficient harvest, threatening livelihoods and increasing local conflict between pastoralists and farmers over land and water. According to the World Food Program (WFP), in southern Mauritania, people are migrating to find food, water and work in neighboring Mali or Senegal. The situation is especially critical in Mali, where 34.0% of infant deaths are directly related to poor nutrition. According to the Food and Agriculture organizations of the United Nations (FAO), it is projected that 9.7 million people will be severely food insecure across the Sahel region and 2 million children are at risk of acute malnutrition in the Lake Chad Basin, Burkina Faso, Mali and Western Niger.
While RET has been successfully assisting Sudanese refugees residing in Eastern Chad (Darfur refugee camp) since 2005 & Central African refugees residing in Southern Chad since 2013, RET is planning to expand its operations to the Sahel region providing a multi-sectoral response to bridge the (1) Deteriorating food security and nutrition gap (2) Escalating violence and communal conflicts gap (3) Climate shocks, through the provision of livelihoods opportunities to improve vulnerable Youth’s self-reliance using sustainable approaches.
RET is currently supporting a youth peace initiative through sports-football in Mali in 2019. The proposed programs will provide protection and humanitarian assistance in addition to job opportunities, restore livelihoods, and build the resilience for some of the region’s most vulnerable communities, through the provision of long-term sustainable approaches that will impact positively the stability in the region and create social cohesive communities. “Education” of the refugees and host youth can help protect them and diminish the rate of recruitment into forced illegal armed groups and from becoming child brides.
RET’s mass focus in the Sahel region will be on the following sectors:
- Nutrition & Food Security
- Economic Growth and Development
- Peace, Stability & Transition
- Disaster Risk Reduction
- Education Formal and non-Formal
Violent Extremism and Communal Conflicts:
Intervention Sector: Peace, Stability & Transition
RET proposes to develop stabilization programs addressing violent extremism and recruitment in armed groups though disarmament, demobilization and re-Integration (DDR) programs for Youth and Child soldiers as well as social cohesion programs. RET has been implementing successful DDR programs for children and adolescents who have been engaged with armed groups in South and North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo since 2012. To date, RET has been able to successfully facilitate the demobilization and reintegration of 1000 ex-soldier adolescents in DRC with a 99% success rate. Over 85% of trained key stakeholders, including leaders of armed groups, have signed letters of commitment to refrain from, or to support the prevention of, the use of those below 18 in armed groups. RET also proposes implementing community stabilization programs, and resettling IDPs through relevant programs. Cross border interventions will also be needed and will be addressed by RET’s interventions.
Food security and Malnutrition:
Intervention Sectors: Nutrition & Food Security – Economic Growth and Development
RET will be addressing the Sahel food crisis through custom-tailored interventions, focusing on innovative sustainable solutions in remodeling agriculture and food systems to strengthen the resilience of trans boundary agro pastoral communities and build more resilient agri-food systems across the Sahel. RET will propose rural development programs to revitalize the socio-economic situation in the Sahel region, investing in small-scale farmers and pilot farm models to increase their livelihoods in a sustainable manner, whilst reducing reliance on foreign aid in the medium and long terms.
Intervention Sector: Disaster Risk reduction – Peace, Stability & transition
RET proposes to address the climate change shocks through providing preventive disaster risk reduction programs to mitigate vulnerability to climate-impacted farmers, cooperative models based on a holistic landscape approach to restore the symbiosis between farmers and nomadic pastoralists as well as income alternatives for former nomadic pastoralists. Climate shocks will eventually cause environmental degradation due to the haphazard utilization of natural resources leading to soil and vegetation degradation / erosion (aggravated through deforestation and overgrazing) and the proliferation of enemies crops (insects, rodents…) and will definitely increase food insecurity and cause climate migration and rural exodus leading to abandonment of terroir and the decline or even in the long-term disappearance of sustainable agro-pastoralist. Taking into consideration the environmental aspect of the crisis in the region, RET will focus on addressing the climate shocks through the provision of not only short-term humanitarian assistance, rather providing sustainable approaches to build the resilience of communities and help them ADAPT to climate change, by means providing durable interventions that will positively impact social cohesion in the region.
Improved Livelihoods and Food Security through Training in Climate-Adaptive Agriculture, Handicrafts, and Peaceful Relations and Economic Interdependence among Communities. (2022-2025)
Mali has one of the youngest populations in the world, with a median age of 16.2 years. The weak infrastructure, high population growth, and low levels of human capital are among many obstacles that hinder Mali’s economic development.
Food insecurity: About 18% of the Malian population suffers from food and nutrition insecurity. That is 3.8 million people, with 42% of the national population living below the poverty line and 24% of Malian children chronically malnourished. The Ségou region is located in the Sudanese agroecological zone of Mali. It is characterized by chronic food insecurity and malnutrition, exacerbated by the effects of climate change, among many others. These regions, where the population’s livelihood depends mainly on agriculture and livestock, have experienced localized production declines that have led to the rapid depletion of supplies. More than 80% of the population is in severe, moderate, or weak food insecurity.
Conflict, social and political challenges: The impact of natural disasters is compounded by social, economic, and political shocks that prevent people from producing or buying enough food and often lead to involuntary displacement and population movements (IDPs, returnees). The target area has been the scene of armed conflict since 2016. In recent years, the Segou region has hosted hundreds of thousands of refugees from the neighboring Mopti region following recurrent attacks on villages in the towns/counties of Bankass, Bandiagara, Koro, and Douentza since 2018. Since the beginning of the conflicts, insecurity has led to the internal displacement of more than 350,000 people, including 61% children and 56% women, mainly in the northern and central regions (Mopti, Gao, Segou Timbuktu, and Ménaka).
Conflicts are intensifying partly due to increasing pressure on natural resources. Added to this is the socio-professional diversity of the population (Bambara, Bozo, and Fulani, who practice agriculture, fishing, and cattle breeding, respectively). In addition, mistrust, hatred, and threats of revenge killings have destroyed mutual trust. Therefore, building the capacity for conflict management to strengthen social organization at the community level is essential. There are acute deficits in social communication. Young people risk becoming involved in violent interethnic conflicts due to a lack of opportunities to meet on peaceful platforms.
Lack of knowledge on climate resilient farming techniques: Farmers, especially IDPs/returnees, women, and youth, lack knowledge of climate-resilient techniques such as soil quality restoration and improvement, water mobilization techniques, adapted seed varieties and cropping practices, etc.; producers have limited opportunities or platforms for sharing experiences and deepening knowledge of successful climate change adaptation strategies.
Youth unemployment, Ineffective vocational training systems, and risk of recruitment by violent groups: Approximately 65% of the total population is under 24 (USAID, 2018). The Malian economy is fragile and unable to absorb young people who have completed school, let alone those who have dropped out and do not have a degree. While stability in central Mali is a key factor in the country’s overall stability, Ségou has a high unemployment rate among young people who did not complete their education. Nearly 12,000 (4,906 boys and 6,755 girls)  dropped out of school at the start of 2022.
Lack of access to agricultural inputs and credit: Affected populations have suffered significant losses of productive assets during repeated conflicts, and they have limited financial resources to (re)invest in agriculture, livestock, or trade. In particular, women, women-headed households (FHHH), youth, and poor people lack access to credit. Microcredit institutions are concerned about the risk of high crop losses associated with climate change and population displacement caused by insecurity. Families with people with disabilities are disproportionately affected by all of the above problems, making them the most vulnerable to acute poverty and food insecurity.
Since December 2022, RET Germany started to implement a project that aims to empower vulnerable women and youth socially and economically by promoting economic independence through training and participation in local committees/decision-making platforms and strengthening peaceful community relations the Segou region, namely in the counties of Segou, Macina, and Bla. Eleven municipalities are targeted by the project interventions, namely Pélengana, Sébougou, Sakoiba, Cinzana, Segou, Monimpébougou and Boky-wère, Macina, as well as Touna, Diéna, and Bla.
The project aims to empower vulnerable women and youth socially and economically by promoting economic independence through training and participation in local committees/decision-making platforms and strengthening peaceful community relations. This will be achieved through three pillars:
Employability and Income Generating Opportunities:
Improving employability and income opportunities for at-risk youth and vulnerable young women through enhanced vocational training opportunities involving government agencies and local businesses and supporting them in entering the labor market and starting small businesses. To achieve this, RET will put in place activities such as:
- Building the institutional capacity of apprenticeship structures, including local enterprises, through quality vocational training, targeting specifically the staff from the Ministry of Vocational Training and Employment Promotion (EFP) and other relevant government bodies with technical support to improve the planning, delivery, and management of vocational skills in Segou; the training and support of 48 local companies to participate in the vocational training program and organize apprenticeships; and finally setting up and strengthening three vocational training centers to provide quality vocational training.
- Providing vocational training courses in skilled and technical occupations, including apprenticeship and practical training and mentoring to more than 475 vulnerable youth and young women from multiple ethnic and minority groups, including people with disabilities and or households with disabled family members).
- Providing training in small business management and counseling to find employment or start income-generating activities to 475 at-risk youth and vulnerable young women, as well as providing start-up assistance (microcredit) and support for the creation of at least 40 income-generating activities/small businesses, and support for labor market integration
Improving the food security of vulnerable youth and young women through more home-grown food and climate-smart agricultural practices and cooperatives. To achieve this, RET will put in place activities such as:
- Providing training courses in climate-sensitive agriculture in 8 school fields set up in the first year to 765 young people at risk and vulnerable young women. Also, a construction/rehabilitation of 8 wells/boreholes to provide water to these school fields.
- Provide business management courses and start-up grants to 765 at-risk youth and support them in setting up 25 agricultural cooperatives for production and processing or supported in joining existing cooperatives.
Peaceful Community Relations:
Improving peaceful community relations of vulnerable groups, such as youth at risk of being recruited by militias, and integrating them into the local community and economy. To achieve this, RET will put in place activities such as:
- Providing conflict-prevention-oriented life skills courses and gender-specific life skills courses to 1,240 at-risk youth and vulnerable young women to prepare for their integration into vocational training and business courses.
- Establishing / strengthening and training 17 Conflict Mediation Committees, including minority groups, to promote social cohesion between different ethnic groups and communities and raise awareness of 17,000 community members for peaceful inter-communal relations and economic cooperation.
- Organizing 25 peace projects and dialogue events with the participation of different municipalities and promoting inter-municipal dialogue and social cohesion. This activity will directly involve 900 community members in implementing peace projects and dialogue events and in organizing 34 recreational activities, reaching 3400 community members to participate in inter-community recreational activities during the three years.
The project will reach more than 5,807 direct beneficiaries, including targeting more than 1240 vulnerable youth and young women from multiple ethnic and minority groups, strengthening the institutional capacity of government partners employees, and building the capacity of vocational training centers and local companies employees. The project will also support and train more than 190 members of the committees for conflict mediation and involve 900 community members in peace projects, and, finally, target more than 3400 participants in recreational activities. The project will indirectly reach more than 27,300 beneficiaries, including 17,000 community members and 6,200 family members of at-risk youth and young women, in a three-year implementation cycle from 2022-2025.
RET Germany is working in collaboration with the Vocational Education and Apprenticeship Support Fund (FAFPA), the Regional Directorate for Employment and Vocational Training (DREFP), the Regional Directorates for Agriculture, Livestock, Water and Forests (DRA, DREF, etc.) and their decentralized rural services and the Regional Directorate of the Ministry of Social Cohesion, Peace and National Reconciliation, and the Regional Reconciliation Assistance Team (ERAR), as well as the Committee for Community Reconciliation (CCR).
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