What we do
NIMD began working with Malian organizations in 2002, and in 2018, we opened a dedicated office in Bamako. In the years we have been active in Mali, the country has seen conflict, an insurgency, intense political unrest, and two coup d’états.
As well as the fragile security situation, Mali is one of the least developed countries in the world, and trust between the political class and population is weak.
Early NIMD programmes in Mali focused on dialogue between the different political parties, and that work has now evolved to include harnessing the voices of diverse groups across the country, to make sure everyone has a say in Mali’s future.
In a country with a young population, supporting a new generation pursue and achieve their political goals through democracy education is another key block to building a solid democratic future.
NIMD has a history of supporting dialogue between different political actors in Mali, and in 2008 we helped set up one of the first independent political party dialogue platforms in the country, the Centre Malien pour le Dialogue Interpartis et la Démocratie (CMDID). Responding to a rapidly changing political environment, we expanded our work to include members of parliament and civil society.
This dialogue expertise has taken on added importance as Mali undergoes a transition from military rule back to democracy, and NIMD works with a number of political and civil society actors to support this transition through training, public awareness campaigns, and dialogue aimed at connecting people with their leaders.
Traditionally there has been a large divide between the government and the people in Mali, with little formal role or opportunity for citizens to present changes to legislation. NIMD has been striving to find innovative ways to engage people from all backgrounds in the transition process, and one initiative called #MaTransition saw us partner with blogging platform Benbere to use social media to gather the people’s views and hopes after the 2020 coup.
In addition, we hold regular informal dialogue events under the Café Politique banner, bringing together political and civil society figures from across ideological divides to promote networking and trust building.
Ensuring the next generation of Malians have the skills, knowledge and networks to prepare them for a career in politics or civil society is crucial for the future of the country. NIMD hosts Democracy Schools in Mali running for between six to eight weeks, in which young people learn theoretical, technical and leadership skills to help them advance their careers. Equally important is the networks our alumni make across party lines, creating a foundation for greater cooperation in future.
Promoting the participation of women in politics in Mali is at the heart of all our programming. And because understanding the barriers to participation is a crucial first step in finding solutions, in 2021 NIMD teamed up with the Westminster Foundation of Democracy and the Malian research group ODYSSEE to produce a report on the Cost of Politics in Mali. That report showed that many women are excluded from entering and participating in politics because they cannot afford it, and we offered recommendations for policy makers to help women overcome these barriers.