The Association of Municipalities of Mali (AMM) and Vereniging van Nederlandse Gemeeten (VNG International) celebrated 20 years of their partnership. The ceremony took place on March 2, 2023 at the headquarters of the AMM in the presence of a delegation from the Netherlands.
Placed under the chairmanship of Mahamane Traoré, representative of the Minister of State, Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralization, the ceremony recorded the presence of Yacouba Traoré, President of the AMM, Abdel Kader Sidibé and Boubacar Ba, former presidents of the Association, Mrs. Eva Peppelman and Mrs. Mariam Diakité, who came especially from the Netherlands and several women mayors.
For the President of the AMM, it is a modest ceremony but full of symbols. Yacouba Traoré expressed his sincere thanks to Mrs. Eva Peppelman and Mrs. Mariam Diakité, who kindly made the trip to Mali to celebrate this celebration of cooperation in the development of local government organizations. “The presence of Mariam Diakité gives a special cachet to this event and constitutes for us the best gift that VNG has given us to celebrate this anniversary. Indeed, it is the very first time that an African national assumes responsibility for the coordination of a program from the Netherlands on behalf of Mali. Ms. Mariam Diakité is of Malian origin,” he said.
The AMM, according to its President, is proud to celebrate such an event for the first time. “During these 20 years, beyond institutional relations, solid friendships have been forged between AMM collaborators and those of VNG International. Anything that testifies to the particularity of VNG’s approach, which puts and promotes human relations at the center of its concerns.
Yacouba Traoré paid tribute to the political leaders and technicians of two organizations who were the architects of this partnership. “The presence of almost all of our country’s female mayors and councilors at this ceremony is one of the strong signs of the actions that VNG International has carried out for the benefit of Gender. The initiative taken by the AMM to celebrate such a partnership is justified in several respects, which it would be impossible for us to enumerate here. However, we are working to develop a document capitalizing on this experience of 20 years of collaboration, which will be widely, “he suggested.
The President of the AMM reassured his partners of VNG international that the APL of Mali are part of a dynamic of strengthening this link. “To this end, we ask VNG International to strengthen its support for our APLs, resolutely determined to support the Government in its multiple reforms for the benefit of communities and communities.”
He suggested that the celebration of this partnership continue in the Netherlands through a delegation of the different structures and organizations involved in local governance and decentralization.
Do great things together
“It is an honor to be here as a Malian to celebrate this partnership,” said Mariam Diakité, project manager at VNG International in the Netherlands. She explained that the partnership began in 2002 with the strengthening of the managerial capacities of the AMM to enable it to do its job better while respecting its independence and its priorities.
The “IDEAL” Programme, according to her, focused on strengthening the social contract between local authorities and citizens. “Currently, we are working on a project that focuses on security and improving local governance on sustainability. This is a project that started last year and will continue until 2026,” said Mariam Diakité. The project manager at VNG International in the Netherlands is very satisfied with this partnership. “We are very happy with this partnership. That’s why we’ve been working together for 20 years. We hope to continue again and again. It must be said that despite the difficult context in Mali, the AMM continues to endure, to grow. It is a partnership that we will continue to support. We already know that we can do great things together.”
On behalf of the Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralization, Mahamane Traoré congratulated the AMM and its international partner VNG for this very fine initiative to celebrate 20 years of constant, fruitful partnership relationship, which has always been able to adapt to the evolution of our security, political and institutional environment. “These years of presence will have made you privileged actors in the process of full decentralization in which our country has been engaged for more than twenty years” This celebration, he declared, is held at a time where our country is engaged in important administrative and institutional reforms, which will have a significant impact on the authorities and the process of decentralization.
VNG international, a partner that stands out from the rest
He recalled that the government of Mali has been engaged for several months in a process of monitoring the actions of organizations operating in Mali. “The main purpose of this is to ensure visibility, traceability, transparency and evaluation of cooperation actions, which play an important role in the development of our regions and our communities. Because any cooperation action must have as its purpose a real impact on the living conditions of the populations.”
The representative of the Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralization recalled that this anniversary should be an opportunity for the two partners to revisit their partnership, to identify its weaknesses, strengths, shortcomings, but also opportunities. He commended the efforts made in the capacity building actions of local actors and their umbrella organizations.
The former President of the AMM, Abdoul Kader Sidibé, underlined that VNG international is a particular association which distinguishes itself from the others. He praised the constancy in this partnership which has lasted for 20 years without interruption. According to him, the collaboration between VNG International and the AMM is imbued with courtesy and conviviality.
According to Gaoussou Sène, the Dutch association favored the local and the needs of the AMM. “Human capital has been an important part of this partnership,” he acknowledged.
As for Boubacar Bah dit Bill, also former President of the AMM, he was delighted with a rather rare offer of solidarity.
Mrs. Diabaté Mariam Bamba, Mayor of the rural municipality of Pélengana and President of the Network, thanked VNG International for its support to local communities.
Exchanges of gifts between the two associations embellished the ceremony.