From July 25 to July 30, 2016, Grassroots International grantees We Are the Solution (WAS) and the National Coordination of Peasant Organizations of Mali (CNOP-Mali) gathered together in Bamako for a farmer-to-farmer learning exchange funded by Grassroots International. Composed of 11 federations of farmers’ organizations representing the interests of nearly 2.5 million farmers and peasants, CNOP-Mali has led the struggle against land grabbing and for the rights of small farmers in Mali and West Africa. CNOP-Mali’s mission is to strengthen the structure of farming organizations and build members capacity to influence agricultural policy. In 2007 CNOP-Mali hosted the first global forum on food sovereignty in Nyeleni, Mali, and in 2014 hosted the international agroecology forum in Nyeleni. CNOP-Mali is a member of Via Campesina.
The learning exchange was an opportunity for WAS to learn the various ways in which CNOP-Mali is putting agroecology into practice across Mali through selected site visits, including CNOP-Mali’s Agroecoolgy Training Center, Nyeleni. Through these site visits and discussions, WAS leaders shared their experience with agroecological farming and what it means to lead a rural women’s campaign for food sovereignty in West Africa. As a result of this learning exchange, both WAS and CNOP-Mali are looking forward to other opportunities for collaboration and mutual learning in Mali and the region.
Here are some highlights from the learning exchange: