HITT in Mali

The SNV Netherlands Development Organisation has been active in Mali since 1979, reducing poverty through capacity building, facilitating public-private partnerships, and tourism planning and product development. From 2010, it has been a leader in the field of tourism development, and since 2011 has facilitated the work of HITT Mali.

Since its inception in February 2011, the HITT programme in Mali has faced numerous difficulties, mostly arising due to the fragile political and economic contexts. Many international partner organisations have left the country, leaving HITT Mali with fewer options for going about achieving their aim of providing market-led vocational training for 1200 informal workers. However, showing tenacity and perseverance, HITT Mali has yielded, and continues to yield, fantastic results – 542 beneficiaries trained by the end of 2012.

With the rise of the Northern Mali Conflict in 2012, HITT Mali took the decision to continue working less affected areas, as an example, trainings planned for the Mopti region were transferred to the less volatile Sikasso region. Identifying where demand and need are present, as well as being conscious of including marginalised groups, HITT Mali developed three training models: ‘Valorisation of Malian Traditional Dishes’, ‘Waste Recuperation and Valorisation’, and ‘English for touristic workers’. The type of beneficiaries and the expected benefits are summarised below.

The Valorisation of Malian Traditional Dishes training is taken mainly by women and young people, all of whom are informal workers, often working in the streets as food vendors. These beneficiaries belong to groups who have very limited access to training, but through HITT Mali will be equipped to effectively manage their small traditional food businesses.

The Waste Recuperation and Valorisation training is taken mainly by young men who work for low pay. By taking the training, these workers will be able to understand what value they can earn from the waste they collect and know how to sell them, throughout their enterprise, to the plants that are recycling them. In doing so, they have the opportunity to use their expertise to gain promotion and higher pay.

The English for touristic workers training is taken mainly by men who will have direct interactions with tourists in their current/future careers. English-speaking skills are rare in Mali, and this tool of communication will be very valuable for these workers, as they can access other customers (asiatic tourists, less impacted by the crisis, English-speaking humanitarian workers or journalists, tour guides in other sub-regional countries). Through this course, the overall receptivity of Mali to English-speaking tourists and workers, will be enhanced.

To achieve its aims in Mali, HITT has created a successful partnership with the Aoua Keita Centre (CAK). Named in memory of Aoua Keita, Mali’s first woman MP and dedicated women’s rights champion, the CAK, which officially launched in 1999, is dedicated to the social and economic advancement of women, with a particular emphasis on those who dropped out of school. It is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Promotion of Women, Children and Families.

The CAK’s nine month hotel work course includes teaching on tourism and management, as well as more general education in English, French, hygiene and psychology. This classroom-based work supplements more practical training in cookery, bar/restaurant work, and housekeeping. So far, over 1000 female students have benefited from taking all or some of these models.

HITT Mali and the CAK have worked in close collaboration in a range of activities, from selecting consultants for curriculum writing, to selecting TVET institutions to work with, to conducting validation workshops for each curriculum. Overall, the contribution of the CAK has been crucial to the success so far enjoyed by HITT Mali.