"Vestibule de la Paix": New joint partnership to support locally-led peacebuilding in Mali
Seven years ago, Mali came into the spotlight as violence broke out following a military coup and an attempt by armed groups to seize control of the North of the country. While democracy was returned one year later, instability remains. Since then, Mali has consistently commanded international attention. The United Nations has over 13,000 peacekeepers stationed there and spends over $1 billion dollars a year on what’s officially its deadliest peacekeeping mission. And yet, despite the UN’s efforts, despite those of the Malian government and the rest of the international community, levels of violence continue to rise, as insecurity spreads from the North to include large sections of the center of the country.
When Humanity United visited Mali for the first time in 2016, the message we heard was loud and clear: efforts to build peace were simply not adding up. One of the critical missing pieces was the failure to meaningfully include local communities in peacebuilding efforts. We also learned about the important work some were doing to try to address that gap. The name IMRAP—the Institut Malien de Recherche-Action pour la Paix—came up in almost every conversation we had. The pioneering work they did with Interpeace —a self-portrait of Mali—had deliberately taken the national conversation on peace and security to Malian communities to help ensure their perspective was adequately taken into account. When we met IMRAP, they told us that they were hungry to do more: to sustain and deepen their engagement; to let communities not just talk but support them to take action; to launch a national conversation to make sure peacebuilding was no longer an elite business, but an imperative for all.
Today we’re excited to announce the launch of “Vestibule de la Paix,” a long-term, multi-partner initiative with the goal of supporting a community based and locally-led approach to peacebuilding in Mali. Led by IMRAP, Interpeace, the Institute of Development Studies and Humanity United, we will be working with communities in the North, Center and South of Mali to take forward their solutions to violence. We will also be channeling that experience into conversations with the Malian government and key international players to see how they could shift their practices to harness the power and agency of local actors and build lasting peace.
As part of Humanity United’s commitment to supporting locally-led peacebuilding, we’re proud to be both a partner and funder for this work, investing $4.5 million into this initiative over the next three years. We believe these efforts can be transformative for Malian communities and they can help fundamentally change approaches to peacebuilding in Mali and beyond.