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Poverty reduction in the Inner Niger Delta, Mali

This project is a demonstration project of the Wetlands and Poverty Reduction Project that aims to contribute to poverty reduction and biodiversity conservation by putting in place a participatory and sustainable management process for local development in the Inner Niger Delta.


Action Description:

Being one of the Demonstration Projects under the Wetlands and Poverty Reduction Project, the project is located in the central part of the Inner Niger Delta in Mali, a large floodplain at the edge of the Sahara. One million people fully depend on its natural resources and earn their livelihoods from it as fishermen, cattle breeders and farmers. It also forms a vital part of the eco-regional network, with 3 to 4 million water birds from almost all parts of the world.

Problems

As a result of climate change and the pressures of human use (dams and irrigation systems upstream) the natural resources are in bad shape. This causes acute food insecurity for the local communities. The project area has the highest poverty rate (78.5%) of Mali (64% in 2001). Poverty forces the local communities to use unsustainable methods to get food or income, thereby further jeopardizing the balance of the ecosystem in the area.

How the project tackles these problems

The project works with local communities and authorities to improve management and restoration of the natural resources of the area. Through the use of traditional financing systems of the local rural districts and innovative financing systems such as Bio-rights local people will be financially supported when restoring ecosystem services for the benefit of the whole region.

Examples are women groups who get funds to start a vegetable garden. In return for the funds each women takes care of one or two trees in the wetland. Villages get funds to make wells for drinking water. In return they work in the management of the wetland.

Some fishes have become rare, so local communities have developed action plans for these species and their habitat. The project provides boats and other means so that local ranger groups can be organised to check if the species are being fished.

The Wetlands International office in Mali conducts the project. Partners are:

- Care (www.care.org)

- Programme Fonds de Development en Zone Sahelienne (FODESA) [http://www.ifad.org/french/operations/pa/mli/i488ml/index.htm - Poverty Reduction and Environmental Management (PREM) [www.prem-online.org] are project partners.

Earlier activities in the Inner Niger Delta

The project builds on previous work of Wetlands International in the Inner Niger Delta in Mali. We looked at the effect of dams on nature and people in the Inner Niger Delta. With our partners, we calculated the effect of current and planned dams in the Upper Niger River on the wetlands of the Inner Niger Delta.


Action Partners:

Donor: Netherlands Ministry of International Cooperation as a demonstration project of the Wetlands and Poverty Reduction Project (see under headquarters)

The Wetlands International office in Mali conducts the project. Partners are:

- Care (www.care.org)

- Programme Fonds de Development en Zone Sahelienne (FODESA) [http://www.ifad.org/french/operations/pa/mli/i488ml/index.htm - Poverty Reduction and Environmental Management (PREM) [www.prem-online.org] are project partners.

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