When artists across the entire country are active, then people will have the opportunity to discover how to express themselves, meet each other, and exchange ideas at cultural events. These types of initiatives contribute to peaceful reconciliation and social and community development.
The culture sector creates jobs
1,500 young people in the districts Douentza, Diré, Niafunké, Goundam and Timbuktu are now able to generate income through artistic endeavours. The financial rewards from cultural activities are of course very modest, but this additional income is vital in very poor areas.
The Malian cultural promotion association “Acte Sept” has set the objective of opening many cultural centres across the country, each providing the space for dynamic cultural life. These spaces will provide a foundation for “cultural infrastructure” and serve as a platform for young and talented artists. For example, “Acte Sept” has staged the theatrical play “Air Accord” to stimulate debate on the 2015 Algiers Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Mali.
Showing the way with the “Sirabo” project
This is also the goal of the “Sirabo” project initiated by Acte Sept in the Sikasso region. “Sirabo” means “showing the way” in the local Bambara language. Since October 2015, a group of artists including actors, dancers, musicians, and acrobats tours and performs across the country. Local bars and artists ae invited to participate in the performances. An evaluation of the first season (running from October 2015 to May 2016) demonstrated that inclusion of a cultural dimension in local development programmes is a success.
Under the Appui à la Formation Professionnelle (PAFP) programme, Swisscontact supported the training of 21 young performance artists. Without a doubt, this has helped in advancing the career goals of these mostly unemployed young people. As a result of this learning process, participants have been able to develop income-generation activities in their localities.
The Government of Mail and its partners declared in unison they would support any actors who remain committed to this cultural life and will provide the assistance they need.