Asambleas Ciudadanos


the Citizens' Assembly in Mali



Proposals Booklet by the Bougouni Circle in Mali

Translations : français . Español . English

Constructing Mali through Local Perspectives

Drafting Committee: Dramane DIAKITE, Alima M. S. COULIBALY, Aliou TOURE - September 4 and 5, 2009


  • País: Mali
  • Capital: Bamako
  • Regional Capital: Sikasso
  • Many city of the circle: Bougouni
  • Cultural centers: Bamanan, Peulh,
  • Principle local languages: Bamanan, Peulh,
  • Community assemblies: Bougouni, Zantièbougou


The Citizens’ Assembly of the Bougouni Circle were held in two phases. The first phase, the community phase, was held on September 2 and 3, 2009 in the towns of Bougouni and Zantièbougou. The second phase, the circular phase, was held on September 4 and 5 in the meeting room of the Bougouni Youth Home.

The delegates at the different meetings represented official political and religious authorities, professional associations and social organizations of women, young people, etc.

In order to achieve sustainable local development based on the goals of the local population, the group debated the challenges that the locals will confront. Then delegates identified the values, commitments and the proposals of local citizens in order to overcome the obstacles that persist in spite of all the measures taken since the summit by the public authorities. During the discussion of the different community proposals by the circle, the delegates drafted this list of proposals of the Bougouni Circle. This summarizes the challenges, values, commitments and objectives as well as the strategies to undertake new local sustainable development.

1. Principle challenges

The crossover study of the challenges identified by the different social groups allowed the five principle challenges to be identified. These corresponded to the following areas: agriculture, health, education, decentralization, sanitation and the moralization of public life.

In the discussion, it became clear that the locals consider that food security can only be achieved if sustainable agriculture is practiced with modern production methods.

In the field of health, the lack of charity boxes at the community health centers (CSCOM) and referenced health centers (CS Ref.) to assist the needy continue to be a topic of debate. The need for the population to access these local health centers is a challenge, one that must be confronted to guarantee health services to the greatest number of people possible.

In addition, the locals’ involved in environmental management continues to be a challenge due to sociocultural habits. Therefore, the circle discussed ways to favor a change in mentality in order for the traditional household heads to become aware and committed to sanitation issues.

The challenges related to education have to do with what the educational system is lacking (infrastructure, qualified personnel, teaching materials, ways to disseminate teaching methods, etc.).

At the local level, the fact that the family education system is looked on with scorn leads to moralization in human relations in the public sphere and nurtures uncivic-minded behaviors and a lack of patriotism.

2. Shared Values

During the citizen assemblies, the populations reaffirmed their desire to emphasize the values inherent to social organization; without these values, the project to coexist peacefully is meaningless. Emphasis was made on recovering solidarity to stimulate local agriculture. Specifically, this will be achieved by implementing the solidarity boxes for the needy.

The commitment of the group of social actors to change their way of thinking in terms of environmental management will help contribute to a livable environment. For this reason, the commitment of household heads is critical in terms of making sanitation a way of life.

The dissemination of knowledge in the local language, especially n’ko, will contribute to widespread education of the population. The truth of the situation is that the moralization of human relations in the public sphere is mainly owed to the family morals taught in society (brotherhoods, initiation).

At these places where socializing occurs, the public welfare, patriotism and the exercise of citizenship can all be encouraged, thus contributing to the progress of the initiatives towards decentralization.

3. The Commitments

Citizens’ assemblies have been a chance for the locals to become committed to setting up granaries and grain warehouses in order to promote solidarity and mutual assistance at the local level. By using traditional methods of agricultural production, these techniques held ensure food self-sufficiency. In this regard, the use of organic fertilizers and the traditional technique of storing seeds are two steps towards solidarity-based agriculture.

The value placed on pharmacopeia and the use of traditional products (diala fara, tiè toro LiLi, djoro) are other strategies to make use and place value on local knowledges that the populations are committed to maintaining.

Another important point are the national languages, which are critical to creating shared knowledge and constitute the basic principles of respect for the rules and the laws of the communities and of the nation as a whole.

The commitment of the populations is to get involved in the public sphere and make it their own through (especially) paying taxes and canons; respecting the rules, laws and principles and exercising citizenship.

4. Proposals

For the population, the development of sustainable agriculture requires the protection for tradition seeds and controls to avoid the overuse of chemical products. However, the locals do consider that scientific research in agriculture could improve the quality of agricultural production.

Teaching the locals about compost piles could be a good way to combat bad practices in terms of sanitation. As a result, suggestions were made to promote the health of the population through education on eating hygienic foods and developing proactive behaviors in terms of sanitation.

Following up on children outside of school is another fundamental task for the collective education of children in society.

Learning in the national languages, especially n’ko, could help combat illiteracy and put into place supplementary ways to transfer the competencies to decentralized communities.

In order to promote awareness of social relations in the public sphere, the populations should be dedicated to learning about their rights and obligations in the community. For this to occur, awareness campaigns should be held on exercising citizenship, patriotism and citizen responsibility in order to awaken a civic sense among citizens.


At the result of the citizen assemblies of the Bougouni circle, participants expressed their desire to turn the meeting’s objectives into concrete actions. The participants agreed that development is not possible without a dynamic population that acknowledges its critical role in this development. The Bougouni circle has plenty of potential (agriculture, mineral resources, etc.) and only a minimal level of commitment and involvement is required to strengthen development. For this reason, discussions were mainly about local capabilities and collective commitments to resolve situations that cause ongoing crises. In this regard, the discussions mainly addressed the following:

  • Traditional methods of organization in social relations;
  • Traditional methods of agricultural production – food self-sufficiency;
  • Educating the locals in managing local challenges through training in the local language – n’ko ;
  • Moralizing social relations;
  • Developing a feeling of patriotism and encouraging citizen involvement in managing local affairs.







1st stage of the Malian Assembly