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Previous Work in Mali

Since February 2004, the Carter Center's Global Access to Information Initiative has worked with the Office of the President of Mali and the Institutional Development Commission (CDI) of the Ministry of Public Administration, State Reform, and Institutional Relations to improve transparency and good governance in Mali.

The Carter Center project has supported the CDI and six pilot government agencies that put into practice better public service and access to information (ATI) through a six-pillar Strategy for Access to Information (SAISA) focused on building the skills, resources, and administrative organization needed to make it easier for citizens to gain access to personal and public documents. SAISA is an integral part of Mali's wider project of state reform, the Institutional Development Program.

Choosing an Approach

In 2004, The Carter Center worked with government, civil society, media representatives, parliamentarians, and donors to develop an initial analysis of the laws and practices that shape information flows in Mali and to identify different options for improving public access to information. Stakeholders agreed on an approach that would support concrete advances in the application of Mali's existing legislation while identifying gaps and weaknesses in that system. President Touré confirmed the decision to pursue a pilot phase in December 2004.

Establishing the SAISA: Two-Year Pilot Phase

In 2005, The Carter Center worked with the Mali government and stakeholders to develop the SAISA and to select the pilot agencies to put it into practice. The Carter Center also supported CDI and pilot preparation of various elements of SAISA implementation, including coordination meetings led by the CDI and key government partners; awareness raising workshops for the administration and civil society on the value of access to public information; initial evaluation of the infrastructure, equipment, and training necessary to implement the SAISA; and regular planning meetings with the pilot structures.

One of the first steps in the SAISA was the creation of a welcome desk or single-entry point where users more effectively could access and receive information.  Secondly, the pilots focused on records management with an audit of the documents and information that they held and establishment of a plan for organizing and archiving.  An internal and external communication campaign to raise awareness of the SAISA comprised the third pillar. The fourth pillar included training of civil servants. The fifth pillar encompassed activities designed to engage civil society.  Finally, coordination played a key role in the implementation of the SAISA, including internal pilot team meetings as well as meetings among all the pilots, the directors, and the CDI.

Building Capacity and Content

In the first half of 2006, The Carter Center continued to work closely with the CDI and pilot structures on the establishment of internal implementation teams, development of agency action plans, awareness raising, initiating more efficient archiving and record-keeping systems, and training personnel. Memorandums of understanding were signed between the CDI and the directors and ministers of the six pilot agencies; a preliminary list of documents held by pilot agencies to be made available to the public in the short term was constructed; SAISA implementation action plans were finalized; an initial series of assessments were conducted; training was provided on archiving, record-keeping, and the professionalization of welcome desk functions; and communications and awareness-raising activities for ministers, pilot agencies, and the public were undertaken.

In 2007, the Center emphasized monitoring and evaluation of pilot agency performance, providing additional technical assistance to address obstacles encountered, and continuing to raise awareness by expanding communication about ATI and the SAISA pilot initiative to other agencies, civil society, and the media. A global review of the SAISA process was conducted at the end of 2007; following the review, a decision was made to deepen the SAISA within the existing pilots and to expand to other relevant agencies.

The Carter Center field presence ended in December 2007.

For more information regarding the Mali Access to Information Project or any of the Carter Center's work on the right to information, please contact progam director Laura Neuman at

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