Germany is assisting Mali in bringing about reconciliation and stable political conditions. However, a lasting peace in the country requires restoring the citizens’ trust in state institutions. Several measures are being implemented to this end, including information campaigns on the peace treaty, improved drinking water and health care and efforts to address civil war crimes.
The situation in Mali has not yet stabilised following the Tuareg rebellion in the north of the country and the subsequent military coup in 2012. Implementation of the peace agreement negotiated between the government that was democratically elected in 2013 and several armed groups has been very slow.
The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is assisting the Government of Mali in establishing a lasting peace and stable living conditions for the population. The primary concern is to restore trust in the state and improve people’s lives – creating a visible ‘peace dividend’.
Many Malians still do not know about the peace treaty. On behalf of the German Federal Foreign Office, the federal enterprise has therefore launched an information campaign together with the Malian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Reconciliation. As part of the campaign, 600 teachers, traditional leaders, local councillors and other civil society actors have received training in order to tell people throughout the country about the peace process. 55 theatrical performances in local languages have also familiarised tens of thousands of Malians with the peace treaty, including people unable to read or write.
Another major success was a brochure developed by the project entitled ‘20 FAQs on the peace treaty’. ‘People want the information, it’s a big hit,’ says GIZ project manager Anne-Katrin Niemeier. The 150,000 copies in 13 languages are the most important means of communication on the peace treaty. Despite the difficult situation in Mali, Anne-Katrin Niemeier is confident, noting that the local response to the projects has been very positive.
She explains that this also applies to the work of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission. ‘The truth must be told,’ say many Malians when asked how important it is to come to terms with the acts of violence committed during the civil war. Therefore, staff from the Commission received trainings on interviewing techniques and victim support. To date, they have taken over 6,000 witness statements on serious human rights violations, which have been used to solve crimes such as murder, rape and theft, and negotiate and determine compensation.
Other means are also being used to restore trust, both between feuding population groups in the north of the country and in state institutions. GIZ is supporting citizens’ dialogue events, in which those taking part follow a democratic process to agree on joint projects that will improve people’s living conditions and, in turn, promote social cohesion. For example, in the particularly crisis-prone northern province of Gao, at least one project – such as the rehabilitation of sports grounds – will be implemented by the end of 2017 in each of the 19 municipalities. More than 150,000 people are benefiting from the microprojects.
Concrete improvements in living conditions help restore trust in state structures. In cooperation with the German armed forces, the only hospital in the northern region was rehabilitated. This has considerably improved health care and hygiene in the hospital. Thanks to this project, the toilets and washrooms are now useable again, and new drainage pipes ensure that the operating rooms remain open during the rainy season. Around 100,000 people are benefiting from this.
Another project is improving the drinking water supply and sanitation. This is being financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Since 2015, around 1.3 million Malians have been given access to clean drinking water. In addition, 20 trainers have received instruction in pump engineering, generator maintenance and specific repair services, and they are passing on their knowledge. In all, 1,200 people are learning how to maintain and repair the systems, which will make a lasting and stable water supply a reality.
Last update: November 2017