Mali: From the Field - Desert Artisans in Mali Foster Dialogue and Tolerance

Military on patrol in Tillabéry Mali (file photo).
11 July 2021

Traditional arts and crafts are being used to build peace and dialogue in Mali thanks to the work of the UN peacekeeping mission in the country, MINUSMA.

Some 360 artisans based around Menaka, in the far northeast of the West African nation, some of whom fled as refugees to neighbouring Niger, have been encouraged to return to the town's newly restored House of Artisans to practice a range of traditional crafts, including leatherwork, silver-smithing, sewing and carpentry.

MINUSMA, which supported the restoration, is hoping bringing artisans together from a range of ethnic groups will help to reinforce social cohesion, tolerance and improve security as well as providing much-needed employment.

The Menaka region is experiencing increasing insecurity as a result of attacks by terrorist groups and armed bandits.

Read more here about how the UN is providing a crucial lifeline for struggling artisans as part of building a sustainable peace.

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