33 times larger than Switzerland, Mali has a budget equivalent to the budget of Geneva’s state hospital. This West African country is confronted with huge needs, as it is one of the poorest countries in the world.
However, in the report on Swiss cooperation with Mali, neither the construction of a sewage system appears, nor projects for hospitals or schools, but only words like “support for the role-players” or “support for communities”. It is a measure which the director of the Swiss cooperation in Bamako, Jean-Luc Virchaux, describes as “accompaniment”.
The Swiss measure is minor, as the vast majority of states pursue the budgetary aid policy, which consists in providing the Malian government with financial assistance.
It is also the case of Sweden, which considers this type of assistance to be more effective and cheaper. On the other hand, the Office of Swiss Cooperation favours the support of communities, a solution that limits the risks of corruption. Helping the local communities in defining their needs, in their organisation, rather than building roads or schools, is a measure pretty well accepted by Malians.
The Swiss programs of support for the Department of Education of Mali contribute to the promotion of alternative and innovative educational approaches, which involve local role-players and are oriented towards groups that are discriminated against and those excluded from the educational system. They favour the networking of the protagonists of civil society and the State, on a local, regional and national level, with the aim of gaining recognition and the spreading of educational innovations.
Our deed in favour of the Bahadou School in Timbuktu is thus supported in the long term through an effective aid of Switzerland as a state.
And our container will soon be on the road! Of course, we will keep you up to date!