LWR began working in Mali in 1986 to address drought-related famine, and continues to partner with rural communities to address the root causes of poverty and lay the groundwork for greater food and nutritional security. LWR works to break the vicious cycle of poverty by improving local agricultural production and investing in sustainable land use. In times of emergency, LWR and its partners use cash-for-work approaches in which farmers earn immediate income to feed their families, while at the same time rehabilitating community assets in order to build future resiliency. LWR currently works in the Ségou region of Mali.
Value Chains and Climate Smart Agriculture
LWR improves the lives of thousands of rural farm families in Mali by improving their participation in agricultural value chains and strengthening their livelihood base. LWR works with partners to improve smallholder farmer cultivation, processing and marketing capacity in rice, sesame, and fonio value chains. Recognizing women’s important role in agricultural production, LWR works to enhance their productive resources and incomes, through training in value-added post-harvest handling and marketing. LWR strengthens the capacity of agricultural cooperatives and unions that serve these farmers with training in governance and financial management, facilitating joint negotiation of credit and other services, and strengthening cooperative sales and marketing.
LWR uses a climate smart agriculture approach to promote the introduction of environmentally sound practices with improved cultivation techniques and the introduction of new varieties of rice and fonio in Mali. LWR brings farmers’ organizations together with agricultural research and service organizations to develop and disseminate higher-yield and drought-tolerant seed. LWR organizes and supports local farmers in the cultivation of certified seed through the provision of on-farm technical assistance and training in quality control.To increase the distribution of and demand for improved varieties, LWR facilitates the organization and official registry of certified seed grower associations, the construction of storage and distribution warehouses, and investments in post-harvest quality control training and equipment.
LWR addresses producers’ need for credit to increase and sustain agricultural production, by linking farmer organizations with credit and other financial service providers, using its innovative Tripartite Rural Financing Model wherein initial loan guarantees and technical assistance allow farmers and their organizations to build a relationship of mutual trust and success with credit providers.
Building Resilience through Conservation
In Mali, LWR reduces marginalized rural populations’ vulnerability to ongoing environmental degradation and the effects of global climate change through long-term, sustainable development and emergency projects that meet immediate needs while building resilient communities. LWR supports the environmentally sound and economically viable rehabilitation and community-led management of irrigation canals and systems. LWR organizes and trains community members to ensure long-term community management of water resources.
From Survival to Recovery
LWR’s established experience and strong relationship with communities in Mali place it in a privileged position to respond quickly and effectively to emergency situations. LWR collaborates with donors to respond to drought and food crisis in Mali through the household and community asset-building assistance to affected populations through cash-for-work initiatives focused on rehabilitation of irrigation systems.
LWR’s emergency operations initiatives adhere to the Sphere Project Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Emergency Response. LWR is also an associate member of the Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP), whose mission is to make humanitarian action accountable to its intended beneficiaries. LWR operates with the belief that those affected by an emergency have a right to life with dignity and that all possible steps should be taken to alleviate their suffering.
LWR’s Material Resource Program is another important element of LWR’s emergency operations capacity; in coordination with local partners, LWR helps meet humanitarian needs in Mali with Quilts, School Kits, Personal Care Kits, Baby Care Kits, Fabric Kits and more.These non-food items are donated by U.S. Lutheran supporters to help meet vulnerable families’ most urgent needs.