Massaran Traore has worked in the extractive industry in West Africa, including in Mali and Cote d’Ivoire for a decade and has advised gold mining companies about community development strategies. Now at International Alert in Mali, she works on improving the economic impact of the mining industry on the local economy and trains civil society organisations (CSOs) on how to monitor, manage and reduce conflicts between communities and extractive companies. Massaran is helping to improve relations between mining companies, local communities, CSOs and authorities, and ensuring that the mining revenues contribute to sustainable economic and social development in the Kayes region, Mali.
The need to skill up
"Looking at natural resource management through a conflict sensitive perspective has changed me personally because I have realised that all socio-economic development activities depend on a peaceful environment.
Therefore I want to help women participate more actively in peacebuilding initiatives in Mali by providing them with training on the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights [set of guidelines for States and companies to prevent, address and remedy human rights abuses committed in business operations] and conflict sensitive business practice [guidance on doing business in societies at risk of conflict] – because without peace, there is no development and I want to ensure women have the right skills to help build peace in Mali."
"I would like to see women act as agents of change in Mali’s social and political context. More than 50% of Mali’s population are women and it is very sad to see that we are still going through several cases of gender-based violence in the country, with very little progress being made by the authorities to prevent such acts from happening."
In 2018, I would like to see at least 40% of women make up part of the government and to have the parliament approve a law against domestic violence.
Speaking up for peace
"Mrs Oumou Sall Seck, Mayor of Goundam (District of Timbuktu) and now appointed Ambassador of Mali in Germany, is an inspiration to all. She has remained actively engaged in working towards the return of peace in Goundam despite the challenges of armed conflict and terrorist attacks that the north of Mali is facing.
She has been one of the rare women to advocate for peace inside and outside of Mali by participating in international forums and fundraising for social and development initiatives in her community. She nurtures relationships at all levels (local, national and international) to bring people together to promote peace. The forums she organises and attends, allow her to inform different audiences of Mali's security situation, how peace can be built and how those in attendance can help achieve it. It due to her commitment to peace that she was awarded the "LA PALME DE LA PAIX" prize recently by the Tumast Cultural Centre. And due to her constant engagement and positive actions, she has been one of the few Mayors to be re-elected during the municipal elections of November 2016.
I have been inspired by her engagement and dedication to peace in such a complex conflict context."
I strongly encourage other women opinion leaders to be and stay as engaged as she is.