Rural Development in Mali - Aga Khan Development Network
Aga Khan Development Network
 

Rural Development in Mali

In Mali, the Aga Khan Foundation's (AKF) Rural Development Programme works in partnership with local communities to improve agricultural productivity and rural livelihoods. The programme's goals are to increase food security and enhance nutrition through facilitating improved agricultural production and increase incomes by facilitating agricultural marketing. In Mopti, AKF has been implementing the Mopti Coordinated Area Development programme in collaboration with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture and the Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance since 2008.

Rural development in MaliThe programmes goals are to increase food security and enhance nutrition through facilitating improved agricultural production and increase incomes by facilitating agricultural marketing.AKF has been implementing the Mopti Coordinated Area Development Programme since 2008. Benefiting from the multi-input area development approach, the programme combines interventions in health, education, rural development, financial services and civil society strengthening to improve quality of life for beneficiaries in the Mopti Region, one of the poorest in the country.

Approaches

Community Development
The Foundation’s activities derive from an intensive community development planning process, which includes the creation and/or strengthening of an institutional structure at village level through which people can determine priority needs and decide how best to manage common resources in the interests of the community as a whole. Broad-based village organisations, along with sector specific interest groups, serve to represent the community to the government and to other development partners, including NGOs and the private sector. All the Foundation’s work within a village is based on the priorities identified in community development plans and includes significant contributions of time, labor and funds from the community.

Participatory Approaches
The Foundation uses a number of proven participatory training methodologies to ensure that its activities are sustainable and replicable. These include farmer field schools to expand access to improved seed and cultivation techniques, test plots embedded within women’s vegetable gardens, and the Participatory Learning and Action Research in Integrated Rice Management approach. Working in the horticulture, rice, millet and sorghum sub-sectors, select farmers are trained from each village.  Once trained, they are supported and monitored as they train others and demonstrate new production practices.

Market Linkages
The Foundation aims to make markets work for the poor. It engages in in-depth value chain analyses to understand the gaps and potentials in the market and then acts to address the constraints through working with producer groups, input suppliers, credit providers and other market actors.

Strategic Crop Selection
The Foundation selects the crops that it will promote based on a number of strategic factors, including market viability, nutritional quality, prevalence in the targeted area and explicit benefit to women. In Mali, it has selected to work with a variety of horticultural crops within women’s gardens, including onions, okra, tomatoes, peppers, sweet potatoes and cabbage, along with three important cereals: rice, millet and sorghum.

Rural Development in MaliThe Foundation aims to act primarily as a facilitator within its target communities in order to prioritise local management and community ownership of all initiatives.Facilitative Engagement
The Foundation aims to act primarily as a facilitator within its target communities in order to prioritise local management and community ownership of all initiatives. AKF Mali facilitates linkages between rural communities and public and private actors, with the goal of exiting from villages once these partnerships are established.

Partnership
AKF Mali partners with a range of public and private actors in order to realise its objectives. In order to ensure that appropriate varieties of seed are available on a sustainable basis in the Mopti Region, it is partnering with the World Vegetable Centre (AVRDC), the International Centre for Research on Semi Arid Crops (ICRISAT) and the West Africa Seed Alliance (WASA). To enhance its work in market linkages, a partnership has been formed with ACDI/VOCA. In all its activities, AKF works closely with local government and community institutions.

Outcomes
Among the expected outcomes of these programmes are:

  • 20 percent increase in vegetable production for 4,000 women,
  • 25 percent increase in household revenues for 2,000 households through vegetable sales,
  • 20 percent increase in production for both irrigated rice and deep water rice for 3,750 rice producers,
  • 60 percent increase in revenue from millet, sorghum and/or rice for 14,250 producers in these sectors,
  • 20 percent increase in revenues of 20 producer groups from farm activities,
  • 20 village organisations strengthened and active in pursuing partnerships, accessing services or accruing benefits for their members.