Promoting community initiatives and decisions making, an effective strategy for resilience in Mali

  • By Modibo Kane Ballo and Albert Dembele
  • 03/05/2019

A work session of the local adaptation commission. Courtesy: Modibo Kane Ballo, DCF adviser


Building community resilience to climate change remains a concern of local government authorities and technical development partners in Mali. Unfortunately, the traditional strategies previously used to achieve this goal did not value initiatives by communities that fell outside the scope of the typical decision-making process.

After various Malian communities said they hoped to address this governance issue, the Decentralized Climate Funds (DCF) project set up an organizational mechanism to obtain funding for adaptation to climate change in partnership with local authorities. The strategy rests on the creation of climate-change adaptation management organizations at the different levels of decentralization: the commune, the circle and the region. These community-based organizations identify, prioritize, validate and monitor funded community initiatives to strengthen their resilience to the effects of climate change.

This institutional anchoring has established a synergy between the actions of beneficiaries and local decision-makers. It has also established transparency when funded projects are implemented. “The DCF mechanism is a first in our municipality. We never had a development partner that empowered the beneficiary population in the choice and implementation of a development project like DCF (does),” said Amadou Pelcouliba, who is the chairman of the management committee of Madina, a village in the Koubewel-Koundia commune, circle of Douentza. Youssouf Ongoinba, a member of the local committee of Koubewel-Koundia, also contended that the initiative had enhanced governance. DCF has valued local knowledge about adaptation to climate change. It has also strengthened producers' capacities regarding soil restoration and agroforestry techniques,” he said. Training local producers to this approach has turned them into local sources of knowledge that have been solicited by other municipalities, he added, namely for the realization of stony cords using contour lines,

What is more, the process of accreditation by the National Agency of Investment of Territorial Collectivities (ANICT) to the United Nations’ Green Climate Fund was initiated with the support of the DCF project. This accreditation aims to extend the reach and implementation of the DCF mechanism at the national level via ANICT.

Stakeholders have been unanimous about the success of the DCF mechanism. The beneficiary communities have said they want the model to continue thriving with the help of ANICT after it is accredited for sustainability purposes. Stakeholders have also said they hope to obtain more funds to finance village led initiatives that have not been funded so far due to the lack of funds.

Modibo Kane Ballo and Albert Dembele are DCF project advisers in Douentza, Mali.

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