Where We Work
Security, which is critical for economic recovery and poverty reduction, remains fragile in the face of continued attacks by armed groups on UN peacekeepers, the Malian army, and civilians, particularly in the north and central regions of the country. Mali is ranked 13 in the Global Terrorism Index of 2019 and 184th out of 189 countries on the United Nations Human Development Index of 2018. In this ever-shifting context, violent extremist groups have exploited a wide range of vulnerabilities to recruit and radicalise members.
Resilient to radicalisation in Kendé, Mali
Her household income was dependent on crops and her family didn’t have enough fertile land to cultivate. At times, she resorted to selling her belongings to make ends meet. Then, the 25 year-old was connected to 18 other women in Kendé through a vocational training for 240 young men and women supported by GCERF.
“The programme taught me to participate in income-generating activities to improve my quality of life.” She started cattle fattening and increased her household income.
“I am filled with hope,” she said. “Actually, I now share my experience with other women in the group and encourage them to be more entrepreneurial.”
Pathways to Change
Baseline studies conducted by GCERF grantees revealed that unemployment, poverty, lack of access to basic social services, and the lack of economic opportunities result in frustrations that contribute to a feeling of exclusion and marginalisation.
Violent extremist groups take advantage of this situation and offer young people financial and material incentives to enlist them. Violent extremists exploit public perceptions of poor governance with a discourse that claims fight to corruption, impunity, and offer alternative solutions.
GCERF works with youth, women, religious and tradition leaders, farmers and herders, students and local authorities to:
- Raise awareness on radicalisation and effective responses.
- Promote community engagement.
- Provide positive social and economic alternatives to what violent extremist group claim to offer.
31,500 community members were directly engaged in activities to enhance their sense of belonging to an inclusive community.
297 PVE radio shows (in the languages Bambara, Dogon, Fulani, French, and Songhay) were broadcast in the programme locations, in addition to reaching listeners across the border in Burkina Faso. Some imams use the free air time granted to them by local stations to spread PVE messages based on the GCERF-funded programme training materials. Further, GCERF’s Malian grantees engage local radio reporters in other activities. As local celebrities, they have been invited to host graduation ceremonies of vocational training.
24,000 community members participated in activities including:
- 133 community watch groups monitored unusual behaviour and directed concerns to a local chief and/or mayor
- 123 village/district community dialogues raised awareness of recruitment and radicalisation to violent extremism, and how to guide at-risk individuals to the help they need
- 110 activities built the capacity of community and religious leaders in conflict resolution, resulting in an increase in mediation requests
- 100 griots (oral historians) were trained to spread PVE messages through music, storytelling, and poems
10,617 vulnerable individuals (2,936 men and 7,681 women) benefitted from economic empowerment and livelihood support.
3,242 individuals in rural and urban settings received training on vocational skills relevant to the local environment, as well as business management and entrepreneurship
1,287 individuals benefited from increased access to microcredit or savings mechanisms (Due to the high-risk security environment, many credit mechanisms have deserted the Malian countryside, and GCERF grantees have provided alternative savings solutions to programme participants.)
877 individuals were trained in organisational management, including how to build contacts with other associations, networks, and platforms
6,304 vulnerable individuals – including disadvantaged women and children – participated in activities to enhance self-worth through confidence-building and critical thinking/life skills training.
1,410 talibé (pupils of Quranic schools) received vocational and entrepreneurship training, start-up funding, individualised career coaching, and PVE and civic education training
1,905 disadvantaged children (who had dropped out or never attended school) were supported in returning to school
1,287 disadvantaged women received intensive literacy courses and vocational training to enable them to join the work force and to participate actively in community affairs