RET officially launched its new project in Mali to address Food Insecurity, Peaceful Relations and Economic Interdependence among the Affected Communities.
Improved Livelihoods and Food Security through Training in Climate-Adaptive Agriculture, Handicrafts, and Peaceful Relations and Economic Interdependence among Communities. (2022-2025)
Insecurity, high population growth, weak infrastructure, and low levels of human capital hinder Mali’s economic development. Mali has one of the youngest populations in the world, with a median age of 16.2 years.About 18% of the Malian population, and/or3.8 million people suffer from food and nutrition insecurity of which 600,000 are in an emergency state. 42% of the national population lives below the poverty line, and 24% of Malian children are chronically malnourished. The Ségou region is located in the Sudanese agro-ecological zone of Mali, which is characterized by chronic food insecurity and malnutrition, exacerbated by the effects of climate change and violence.
In recent years, the Segou region hosted hundreds of thousands of refugees from the neighbouring Mopti region following recurrent attacks on villages and towns. Since the beginning of the conflicts, insecurity has led to the internal displacement of more than 350,000 people, (61% children, and 56% women) mainly in the northern and central regions of Mopti, Gao, Segou Timbuktu and Ménaka.  Farmers, particularly IDPs/returnees, women, and young people, lack knowledge of climate-resilient techniques like soil quality restoration and improvement, water mobilization techniques, adapted seed varieties, and cropping practices, among others; producers have few opportunities or platforms for sharing experiences and deepening their knowledge on successful climate change adaptation strategies.
Affected communities have experienced severe losses to their productive resources as a result of ongoing wars.Consequently, they have little or no money to (re)invest in trade, agriculture, or livestock. Female-headed households (FHHH), young people, and those in multi-dimensional poverty, in particular, do not have easy access to finance.
Since December 2022, RET started to implement a project that aims to empower vulnerable women and youth socially and economically by promoting economic independence through training and participation in local committees/decision-making platforms and strengthening peaceful community relations the Segou region, namely in the counties of Segou, Macina, and Bla. Eleven municipalities are targeted by the project interventions, namely Pélengana, Sébougou, Sakoiba, Cinzana, Segou, Monimpébougou and Boky-wère, Macina, as well as Touna, Diéna, and Bla.
“Kick Off” workshop with stakeholders and partners in Mali!
In March 2023, RET organized a “Kick Off” workshop with stakeholders and partners in Mali to mark the project’s launch officially. Through the workshop, RET highlighted the context of the project, its objectives, the expected results, and outcomes with stakeholders, including the Malian Government Administration, Partners, Communities, and Targeted Groups. The workshop created opportunities for exchange early to ensure a constructive dialogue on the project’s implementation strategies. Many high-level guests attended the workshop, including representatives of regional and local state structures, the regional council president, the mayor of Ségou, and the mayors and official representatives of the other municipalities targeted by the project interventions.
The project aims to empower vulnerable women and youth socially and economically by promoting economic independence through training and participation in local committees/decision-making platforms and strengthening peaceful community relations.
This will be achieved through three pillars:
Employability and Income-Generating Opportunities: Improving the employability and income opportunities for youth-at-risk and vulnerable young women through enhanced vocational training and supporting them in entering the labour market and starting small businesses, in coordination with government agencies and local businesses.
RET will implement activities such as:
- Building the institutional capacity of “Apprenticeship Structures”, including local enterprises, through quality vocational training, targeting specifically the staff from the Ministry of Vocational Training and Employment Promotion (EFP) and other relevant government bodies with technical support to improve the planning, delivery, and management of vocational skills in Segou, as well as the training and support of 48 local companies to participate in the vocational training program and organize apprenticeships, and finally setting up and strengthening three vocational training centers to provide quality vocational training.
- Providing vocational training courses in skilled and technical occupations, including apprenticeship and practical training and mentoring to more than 475 vulnerable youth and young women from multiple ethnic and minority groups, including people with disabilities and or households with disabled family members).
- Providing training in “Small-business Management and Counselling” to find employment or start income-generating activities to 475 youth-at-risk and vulnerable young women, as well as providing start-up assistance (microcredit) and support for the creation of at least 40 income-generating activities/small businesses and support their market integration.
Food Security: Improving the food security of vulnerable youth and young women through more home-grown food and climate-smart agricultural practices and cooperatives. To achieve this, RET will implement activities such as:
- Providing training courses in” Climate-sensitive Agriculture” in 8 fields targeting 765 young people and vulnerable young women in the first year. Also, the construction/rehabilitation of 8 wells/boreholes to provide water to these fields.
- Providing Business Management Courses and start-up grants to 765 youth-at-risk and supporting them in setting-up 25 agricultural cooperatives for the production and processing of goods and/ or support existing cooperatives.
Peaceful Community Relations: Improving peaceful community relations of vulnerable groups, such as youth at risk of being recruited by militias and integrating them into the local community and economy. To achieve this, RET will implement activities such as:
- Providing conflict-prevention-oriented life skills courses and gender-specific life skills courses to 1,240 youth-at-risk and vulnerable young women to prepare for their integration into vocational training and business courses.
- Establishing, strengthening and training 17 “Conflict Mediation Committees”, including minority groups, to promote social cohesion among different ethnic groups and communities and raise awareness of 17,000 community members for peaceful inter-communal relations and economic cooperation.
- Organizing 25 peace projects and dialogue events with the participation of different municipalities and promoting inter-municipal dialogue and social cohesion training. This activity will directly involve 900 community members in implementing peace projects and dialogue events and in organizing 34 recreational activities, reaching 3400 community members to participate in inter-community recreational activities during the three years.
The project will reach more than 5,807 direct beneficiaries, including targeting more than 1240 vulnerable young people and young women from multiple ethnic and minority groups, strengthening the institutional capacity of government partners employees, and building the capacity of vocational training centers and local companies’ employees. The project will also support and train more than 190 members of the committees on conflict mediation and involve 900 community members in peace projects, and, finally, target more than 3400 participants in recreational activities. The project will indirectly reach more than 27,300 beneficiaries, including 17,000 community members and 6,200 family members of youth-at-risk and young women, in a three-year implementation cycle from 2022-2025.
 USAID, 2018
 World Bank, Development Indicators, 2019
 UNHCR, 2022