Report on local conventions governing NRM Mali - Final version Feb 2015
A study was conducted in two districts (Bougouni and Koutiala) of southern Mali to document and analyse existing local conventions governing the management of natural resources in mixed crop-livestock systems. Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) and individual interviews were conducted to collect data on the existing local conventions and on the participation of local population in decentralized natural resource management. In total, the group discussions included 27 administrative and technical services, and 53 community leaders including women. The individual interviews involved 165 farmers including 54 women. Data collected during these interviews included among others the condition of natural resources in the study sites, farmers' level of knowledge of existing local conventions, strengths and weaknesses of existing local conventions, participation in the elaboration and implementation processes of local conventions. The results of this study showed that local conventions governing natural resources management exist in all study sites mainly in an informal (oral) form. The level of knowledge of the local conventions differed from one individual to another. Overall, level of knowledge of local conventions was higher in the district of Bougouni than in the district of Koutiala (a score of 3.16 compared to 1.70 on a scale of 0 to 4). In addition, women’s level of knowledge of local conventions was lower than that of men. The results also showed that participation of community members in the elaboration processes and implementation of local conventions was very low in all study sites and tended to be dominated by a group of individuals, often community leaders and elites. These results suggest that women are marginalized in the elaboration processes and implementation of local conventions. Thus, promoting the participation of community members especially women's in the elaboration and implementation of local conventions processes is essential for a sustainable management of natural resources.