From 14 to 23 April, a group of 19 representatives of diverse NGOs from Mali participated in a training program at the Clingendael Institute. The training course, which was made possible with the financial support of the Nationale Postcode Loterij, focused on the role of civil society in the promotion of peace and development in Mali. Since the 2012 uprisings, Mali has been severely unstable and tensions within the heterogeneous population remain high.
The training course provided the participants with a broad array of knowledge and skills. A large part of the training was aimed at capacity building, providing skills training on diverse issues, such as dealing with the media, lobbying and advocacy, and mediation. Next to that, the group was encouraged to expand their professional network through meetings with several (non-governmental) organizations and institutes, like Oxfam Novib, Plan Nederland and HiiL. These visits were complemented by several working visits to the Dutch Parliament, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the International Criminal Court. The Conflict Research Unit presented their research programme on the Sahel region, and Mali, to the group.
A particularly interesting event was the meeting with ms. Hiroute Guebre Sellassie, the UN special envoy for the Sahel region since May 2014. She visited Clingendael on Wednesday 22 April. Ms. Guebre Sellassie discussed the priorities and mandate of her office, which incorporates not only Mali, but other countries in the Sahel region as well. The group and ms. Guebre Sellassie then discussed the integration of Malian civil society in the implementation of her strategy.
During the closing ceremony on the 23rd of April, the participants presented their country strategy, which they developed during their training at Clingendael. They did so in front of Clingendael/Conflict Research Unit staff, as well as representatives from non-governmental organizations like ICCO, GPPAC and the Human Security Collective. Margriet Schreuders, representative of the Nationale Postcode Loterij gave a speech. The ceremony ended with a speech by the director of the Clingendael Academy, mr. Ron Ton, and the presentation of the certificates.