Situated in the heart of West Africa, Mali is twice the size of France. The year is punctuated by two seasons: the dry season and the rainy season, which last for varying periods depending on zones and years. The rural economy is at the mercy of the vagaries of the climate and the negative socio-economic impacts of this uncertainty make local communities more vulnerable.
Price variations on international markets are also keenly felt, as regards both food crops and cash crops such as cotton that are key to the country's economy. Pressure on natural resources is extremely heavy and mass use of woody biomass as an energy source exacerbates desertification. In these difficult circumstances, GERES works to limit pressure on natural resources while promoting local economic development.
GERES IN Mali
Since early 2012, Mali has been in deep crisis following destabilization of the country, in the North by a rebel independence movement linked with radical Islamists and, in the South, by a coup d'état which resulted in an unprecedented security and socio-political crisis. This multi-faceted crisis has repercussions on both the Northern (humanitarian emergency) and Southern regions where living conditions have deteriorated sharply.
In this situation, it is essential to continue with projects to improve community living conditions. With two offices in Mali (Bamako and Koutiala) since 2007, GERES has endeavoured to maintain its activities through mobilization of its field teams and local partners.
The two ongoing projects, ALTERRE and CEnAO, have therefore been able to go on working despite delays:
- The CEnAO programm aims to preserve wood energy resources, reduce energy poverty and promote economic development by supporting the production of low-energy cookstoves and sustainable fuels manufactured from recycled biomass waste.
- The ALTERRE Mali project aims to provide access to energy in rural areas, especially for productive activities (crafts, food processing and services), focusing on the extraction of Jatropha oil produced and used locally. This renewable energy source can power village engines in place of diesel or hybrid rural electrification systems. This project feeds into thinking at a sub-regional level concerning the relevance of short supply chains like these in connection with the JatroREF network.
GERES also undertakes activities in Mali as part of the StovePlus program.