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Story Telling: Mali/Climate Change - Simina saved from flooding by Wetlands International and Care

18-Dec-2014

Simina was almost wiped off the Mali’s map because of climate change. This village in the north of the country was always hit by severe flooding. The bad weather went up to threatening the very existence of the village. Each year, many houses were swallowed by the rainwater. To end this continuous calamity, Wetlands International and its partner, Care Mali, have intervened to save Simina by constructing a seawall.

When we left Sévaré on Thursday morning to Simina, I was far from suspecting that it was going to be a real obstacle course. Simina, the village at the bottom of the hill, is very isolated. The terrain is rugged. Hills appear at the background. The road that led us there is in a bad state if not chaotic. We had to drive along the national road going to Gao, not far from Konna before taking a new path. Large kaolin color stones line the path. Twice, we lost the way. There are so many roads in the area and sometimes one misses the right path leading to Simina ''You see this path here, follow it, it will take you to the village'' a peasants told us. We found him farming. Finally we got there. We found local villagers gathered under the palaver tree. They welcomed us at the entry of the village. It was not an easy journey. Notwithstanding, Wetlands International and Care Mali helped the residents to create a track for easier access to the village which is very landlocked especially in winter. At about 56 km from Sévaré, Simina is a district of the town of Konna (where lots of trouble occured during the crisis of 2012) in northern Mali. It is at the bottom of the Great Hill (Koulouba in local bambara language).

Some years ago, people in the village only closed one eye in their sleep. They suufered the psychosis of recurring flooding. Their torment went on for years. Simina went even close to being swept from the Malian territory, as a victim of climate change. ''Every year, we were haunted by the flood that used to destroy all our houses'' recalls Amadou Traore, the village chief of Simina. “When it rained, we could not sleep with closed point, but now we are relieved'' said Adama Traoré, a village councilor. Youssouph Traoré, a member of the Prevention and Disaster Management Committee added that the idea of people abandoning the village was even raised. ''So we challenged the municipal authorities of Konna who contacted partners such as Wetlands International and Care Mali and they promptly came to our rescue'' he insisted. Today, all this anxiety is a distant memory though painful indeed. People of Simina must have heaved a great sigh of relief. The village got salvation thanks to Wetlands International and Care Mali which spared it from a premature disappearance from the map of Mali. The two organizations have qualitatively changed the lives of local people. As part of of the Alliance Partners for Resilience (PfR) project, they created a 1km 300 meters length seawall to stop the phenomenon. The infrastructure surrounds the village. It was built two years ago. With time, some cracks are visible. Sandbags are entrenched in some cracked places. Local residents say unanimously that whenever a breach is seen at the dike, they spontaneously mobilize to fix it.

Conservation Agriculture as a lever to climate change

To better help face climate change, Wetlands International and its partner Care Mali support villagers of Simina in fruit tree growing. The existing community garden before the advent of Wetlands International and Care Mali has been strengthened. Planted fruit trees include jujube.

For agriculture, mulching technique has been used in the context of the village eco farm. It’s is a technique that consists of spreading millet straw on the ground as compost to enriches the soil for better returns. It is intended for conservation agriculture that is in a test phase with millet seed. The products are grown on an area of one hectare on the far right of Simina, opposite houses. In this village of 400 inhabitants, local communities are involved in agriculture and livestock.

To effectively combat water erosion, which has been a historical obstacle to the development of the village, residents are now seeking the support of the project for a grant of plant species. At the end of the project in September 2015, the inhabitants of Simina pledge their engagement for sustainability. They still want to be trained in new techniques to better preserve the seawall and sustain good practice. ''The existence of the village is partly linked to the dike'' said Amadou Traore, the village leader.

The breakwater of Simina is an achievement of Wetlands International and Care International. It is an initiative from within the Partner of Program for Resilience (PfR) program in collaboration with Malian organizations to protect the environment such as GRAT (Group for Research and Technical Applications) AMPRODE / Sahel (Malian Association for Protection and Development of the Environment in the Sahel, ODI / Sahel (Integrated Development Organization in the Sahel) Governmental structures and decentralized structures. The project is funded by Wetlands International, Netherlands Red Cross, Cordaid, the Center on climate of the Red Cross and Red Crescent

Contact: Bakary Kone (bkone@wetlands-africa.org) and Pape Diomaye Thiare (pthiare@wetlands-africa.org)

Communications and Media Coordinator

Pape Diomaye THIARE

Communications and Media Coordinator

Wetlands International Africa

Email: pthiare@wetlands-africa.org

Phone: +221 33 869 16 81

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