Launched in 2008, PWYP Mali has focused on a range of issues, including EITI implementation, regularly analysing EITI reports and building civil society capacity to monitor implementation. The coalition also advocates for contract transparency and has a strong focus on tax justice, as part of the Capacity for Research and Advocacy for Fair Taxation (CRAFT) Initiative. It currently works on the social and environmental impacts of gold mining, and on budget analysis and monitoring at local authority level.
We are not a poor country. With our natural resources we are a rich country. But where does the money go? There are gaps between what the companies pay and what the government receives. Civil society has to get involved to find this information, otherwise everything happens only between the companies and the governments and we have no idea how much gold leaves Mali.
When a mining company settles into a community they should create a school or a road. But often the community doesn’t benefit. Even if they build a school there aren’t enough teachers, we have seen communities where there are three classes for one teacher. Mining exploitation hasn’t created wealth. It’s led to environmental damage, collapsing houses, illness; they’ve even used cyanide in mining. There’s too much illness and women and children are the first affected by mining.
I work in remote places for the promotion of the rights of women and children, that’s how I got involved with this coalition. With transparency we can make sure that the resources from gold are used to improve people’s lives, so that women no longer have to give birth miles away from the nearest doctor. During my years working in remote villages I have heard of some horrific deliveries and seen women suffer in ways that are simply unacceptable. With transparency we can make sure that people’s lives are transformed, and that Mali’s gold shines for everyone.