The Mopti Coordinated Area Development Programme, established in 2007, aims to help families in this region seek long term solutions to achieve greater food security, increase literacy rates and income levels. The programme is active in 200 villages in 20 communes of Mopti and Djenné. Currently, the programme is implementing nine projects in the region in the areas of health, nutrition, gender equality, rural development, education and civil society.
In the remote region of Mopti, located at the edge of the Sahara Desert, nearly 90 percent of the population are farmers who live below the poverty line. These farmers face many challenges: child mortality is 30 percent higher than Mali’s national average, according to the International Monetary Fund; over one-third of children in the Mopti region suffer chronic malnutrition; and families there typically only have enough to eat for nine months out of the year. The main cause of poverty is low agricultural productivity caused by uneven rainfall, limited means for water management, inadequate agricultural support services and continuing conflicts in the country.
Agriculture and Food Security
Convinced that the development of sustainable methods of food production remains the safest alternative to eradicate hunger and improve livelihoods, the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) strives to alleviate the threats to agriculture and food security and mitigate the effects of climate change. Interventions are geared towards improving the productivity of farmers through training, increasing access to inputs, the introduction of new seed varieties which are better suited to the desert climate and introducing innovative farming techniques.
Farmers are also supported in taking their goods to market, learning farming as a business, and able to add value to their harvests so they can sell for more, market their harvests to wholesalers and retailers, and thereby increase household incomes. The team also works with cooperatives and farmer associations to design their business plans. The Aga Khan Foundation also works with the Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance (AKAM) to help farmers and local communities access microfinancing to purchase certified, improved seeds and fertilizer, grow their small businesses and add value to their production.
Women play a key role in sustainable social development. They are the main growers of vegetables. When they have access to more vegetables year-round and capacity to make better nutrition decisions, the result can be healthier children who are ready to learn. Therefore this project focuses not only on cash crops that contribute to household income, but also crops that contribute to the household diet. The project helps women gardeners increase their crops’ productivity with better seed varieties, and boost their incomes by organising cooperatives and using market information to sell at higher prices.
The Programme also focuses on health, aiming to improve the overall health and well-being with a focus on reducing maternal and child mortality. The health programme works with close to 450,000 beneficiaries in 27 communes in the region, improving access, both physical and financial, to health care. This includes the creation or rehabilitation of rural maternities with updated equipment, stocks of medicines and adequate human resources, improving drinking water and sanitation facilities and encouraging better nutritional practices.
In the field of education, activities focus on improving access to quality educational services, improving school enrolment rates, enhancing reading skills, training in governance and management of schools, production of textbooks and reading tools, improved infrastructure, and community participation.
To contribute to the emergence of a strong and vibrant civil society and local development in the Mopti region, the Mopti Coordinated Area Development Programme supports the creation and strengthening of a variety of village-level organisations including village organisations, school management committees, farmers' groups, and community health committees, among others. Encouraging community governance, it strengthens the capacities of organisations, and helps to develop improved collaboration between the municipal authorities and civil society organisations.
The project aims to indirectly benefit over 200,000 people through more diversified crops, improved food security, nutrition and farm income. More than 4,000 women are being trained in new vegetable production techniques. Over 3,000 farmers are receiving training in the use of improved rice production and use of quality seeds and over 10,500 farmers are receiving training in improved varieties and production of millet and sorghum.
The Mopti Area Development Programme is supported by the United States Department of Agriculture, the United States Agency for International Development, the Department of Foreign Affairs, Global Affairs Canada, the European Union, the Agence Française de Développement and the Orange Foundation.