Improving Security and Stability in Central Mali by Preventing the Spread of Violent Conflict
Since 2012, Mali has experienced a gradual deterioration in its security situation. This insecurity, exacerbated by political and institutional instability, leading to the withdrawal of the administration in several localities, has been exacerbated by inter- and intra-community conflicts over the management of land and natural resources. Shifting herding practices, resulting in a ‘crisis for pastoralism’ and feelings of state abandonment, unfair treatment, marginalisation and exclusion between sedentary farmers and nomadic herders, has been successfully exploited by armed groups. Equipping local authorities, state technical services, and sedentary and nomadic communities to better manage the transhumance process is crucial for achieving longer-term stabilising impact.
The Project/what we are doing about this challenge:
In partnership with Mercy Corps, ASI seeks to improve the ability of justice actors and communities to resolve disputes peacefully, while building their long-term capacity to prevent and mitigate conflict. JASS covers the regions of Koulikoro, Ségou, San and Koutiala, within which ASI covers ten communes of intervention.
ASI focuses on land governance and natural resource management, assisting local authorities to implement Malian laws to set up conflict resolution commissions (village land commissions), and providing training to commission members in mediation, inclusion and the legal rights and responsibilities of farming and herding communities.
Through working with state technical services, local authorities and communities, JASS maps and demarcates transhumance corridors at the commune level to make future cycles of transhumance easier; demarcation of key pinch-points where there are high rates of farmer-herder conflict helps to reduce future confrontations. JASS works with communities and local authorities to negotiate the free passage of herders along transhumance routes and liberate areas of blocked corridor; and reinforces community cohesion through mass communication via radio.
Through its in-house action-oriented Research Unit, ASI has built the evidence base for more effective donor-funded stabilisation programming by delivering Political Economy analyses of the region, and designing innovative pilot projects to address barriers to justice and reduce conflict.
What the project has achieved so far*:
- Assisting local authorities to map and demarcate agreed transhumance corridors at the commune level in ten communes, supporting community negotiations to free 141km of blocked transhumance corridor; and establishing community committees to ensure the ongoing respect of transhumance corridors
- Improving local awareness of the rights and responsibilities of both farming and herding communities by broadcasting 450 radio messages in local languages during the transhumance period, and running community fund events on land laws and conflict resolution that have mobilised nearly 10,000 people since September 2021
- Establishing, operationalising and embedding 200 village land commissions across 10 communes, ensuring they are accessible to transhumant populations, and members are trained on inclusion as well as the legal protections that surround the transhumance process
- Successfully bridging formal and informal justice sectors by encouraging a judge to visit the largest town in Koutiala province for the first time in 20 years, to discuss with the land commission how land decisions can be recognised in Malian law
- Designing and implementing evidence-driven conflict reduction pilot projects addressing the sensitive issues of cattle theft, land rights of internally displaced people, and the rights of children at risk of recruitment to armed groups.