Case 2: Mali: Assisting the Sourou population take ownership of their future

The Sourou is a rural area in the centre of Mali with a population of almost a million. It has the Sourou river as its key natural resource. The Dutch embassy wanted to support this area, but it had doubts about the irrigation projects that NGOs proposed.
The embassy decided to turn the question around: to ask the intercollectivité, which is the joined-up municipalities from the area, to decide for itself where it wanted to go and to justify. The embassy assisted them to engage in a planning process including villages and all ethnic groups, ages and gender to discover how everybody looked at their future, and to make a fair and feasible action plan. The embassy assisted the experts of the intercollectivité to justify the action plan. It did that by offering views on how objectives could be achieved, where needed in an innovative way (as traditional livelihood systems were meeting their limits), on sound analysis of these options in view of sustainable development, and also considering cross-cutting issues like gender. An environmental assessment procedure was useful to get formal transparency (see ), to get approval from the state, and to get a quality check on the analysis.
The embassy did not suggest any objectives for the development of the Sourou area. On the other hand, relating to the sustainable development goals turned increased the chances of funding the action plan.


Sibout Nooteboom, snooteboom, 06-52596838 
Moumouni Damango, moumouni.damango , +223 76 05 19 24 / +223 66 98 20 63