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Country Programme of Mali

The current country programme for Mali (2012 - 2016) consists of two lines of action: food security/sovereignty and human rights/social justice. 


In the food security/sovereignty sector, Caritas Switzerland follows the principle of interdependence between natural resource management, value chain approach and emergency assistance. In the topic of human rights and social justice, we focus on the fight against HIV/AIDS, cooperating with sex workers (“femmes libres”). The overall objective of the programme is to contribute to the improvement and sustainability of the socioeconomic conditions of the target groups and to help the population become the main actor of its own development. The specific objectives of the programme are as follows:

    Food security/sovereignty

  • Natural resource management: farmers and cattle raisers are aware of the need for sustainable management of land and water and ensure that appropriate measures will be taken to this end.
  • Local Economic Development (LED): producer groups are supported in the fields of access to water, development of value chains / small and medium enterprises as well as through professionalisation of savings and credit cooperatives.
  • Prevention and emergency assistance: the population is being supported in its prevention efforts; prevention primarily relates to building grain storage facilities and to the fight against locusts. Food aid and rehabilitation are confined to major crises.

    Human rights and social justice

  • Sex workers and their children: health and economic conditions of sex workers as well as legal and health conditions and schooling for their children have improved.
  • Institutional development and self-management: partners of Caritas Switzerland involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS are being supported in the area of institutional development, and the partner “Danaya So” has engaged in a strategic process aimed at partial self-management starting in 2014.

Target groups
For the sector food security/sovereignty, the target group primarily consists of farmers from villages in disadvantaged areas that are often far away from commercial centers and lack even basic infrastructure as well as banking, marketing, repair and other services. The target group of the sector human rights and social justice are sex workers and their children. This group is particularly subjected to stigmatisation, social exclusion, exploitation and the risks of sexually transmitted diseases.

Geographical focus
In regards to the food security/sovereignty sector, the country programme 2012-2016 aims at a geographical concentration of activities. Instead of working with various partners at a modest level, we strive to achieve a critical mass with a smaller number of partners, which will imply a greater weight and right to intervene for Caritas Switzerland. In this sector, the current intervention areas are Kayes, Bamako, Mopti and partially also San/Tominian. In the case of the topic human rights and social justice, Caritas Switzerland operates in the largest cities of Mali (Bamako, Sikasso, Koutiala, Mopti and Segou) and on the gold mining site of Morila.

The current programme is being implemented and supervised at the headquarters by a Program Manager as well as an Program Officer in charge of Chad and Mali (Sahel Program). In addition, since November 2014 we have had a coordination office in Bamako run by a representative.

Poverty is a complex phenomenon combining social, economic, human, physical and environmental dimensions. A programme to reduce poverty must take into account the different dimensions of poverty through an approach that integrates all of them. Sustainable poverty reduction must build people's capacity to develop strategies that reduce their vulnerability and at the same time their dependency on external assistance.


  • Natural resource management / local economic development, prevention and emergency assistance All partners of Caritas Switzerland identify themselves with the principle of interdependence between the three components natural resource management, local economic development, and prevention and emergency assistance.
  • Local Economic Development (LED) The aim of LED is to reinforce the economic capacity of a specific geographical area in order to improve its economic future and the quality of life of its inhabitants. It is a process by which public entities, the private sector and non-governmental organisations work together to create better conditions for economic growth and job creation.
  • Value Chain Development (VCD) For smallholder families producing a product for which there is a value chain, this approach is part of their strategy to improve their profit margin for this specific product. Only an appropriate management of the value chain can ensure the economic progress of farmers and their organisations. Product processing, storage and marketing are key elements of the value chain approach.
  • SLA (Sustainable Livelihoods Approach) It is a permanent challenge to identify the most vulnerable population groups and monitor their situation. The SLA methodology offers an interesting and challenging opportunity to update the information on target groups.

Short history of Caritas Switzerland presence in country
The engagement of Caritas Switzerland in Mali started in 1973; it is linked to the great drought of 1972-1973. After having worked primarily in emergency aid, Caritas increasingly engaged in development cooperation from the 80’s onwards. Right from the outset, we established partnerships with the national as well as one diocesan Caritas (Caritas Mopti). During the 90’s, three additional diocesan organisations (Sikasso, Bamako and San) joined the programme. Since 1995, Caritas Switzerland has also worked with a women’s association which is not related to the Catholic Church. In 2012, a second non-church NGO was integrated into the Caritas country programme in Mali, ACORD Mali. As to our approach, in the years 2000 we started placing more emphasis on market orientation by introducing the Local Economic Development (LED) and value chain concepts. Since 1998, Caritas has been working with the country programme (CP) tool. The current CP, which covers the period 2012 – 2016, is the fourth of its kind.


Fields of Activity

Food Security and Income Generation
Human Rights, Social Justice and Peace
Humanitarian Aid

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