The goal of the USAID funded WING program in Mali was to increase women’s influence on community decision-making to strengthen decentralization and governance in Mali. The USAID/ Mali’s Country Strategic Plan (CSP) proposed as its Democracy and Governance Strategy “Shared Governance through Decentralization.” One of the plan’s intermediate results under this strategy was the increase of “Women’s Participation in Decision-Making at the Local Level.”
This dTS led pilot project was designed to increase women’s influence in decision-making in order to strengthen decentralization in Mali. dTS, in cooperation with five non governmental organizations across four regions in Mali, conducted capacity building and training related to women and their institutions in local governance and leadership.
The project successfully met each of the performance standards provided by USAID/Mali, and in many cases surpassed the standards. The most significant, quantitative success for the project was the increased number of women elected to local offices which was further reinforced by the dramatic increase in women expressing an interest in becoming candidates and in participating in the governance of their communities. Some 13,317 people in 16 communes (about 85% of them women) were trained. Forty-two female candidates, who underwent WING training, were elected to the communal council in the May 2004 elections which constituted a 91 percent increase in elected women in these communes.