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Jon Snow
Caroline Lucas MP
Satish Kumar



Deborah Hutchinson (Chair)
Caroline Hart (Founder)
Melroy Mukwaya
Trudie Onyechi
Richard Savage

Advisory Panel


Andrew Gray
Dr Crispen Marunda

(Centre for International Forest Research)
Dr Polly Richards

Who We Are and What We Do

The Joliba Trust has supported grassroots development projects in Mali for over 30 years.  We know the country and its people well and as a result our work is low cost and effective. We focus on sustaining and improving livelihoods in particularly poor areas in order to reduce the need for migration; improving the lives of women; and providing opportunities for young people.

A meeting to discuss the sharing of natural resources

Joliba works directly with two local partner organisations in Mali.  We are immensely grateful for the dedication and courage of our 14 staff.  Our Field Director is a talented Malian Agronomist.

A new well

Some of our achievements in the last 20 years include:

  • Building over 200 village wells in an area with the least access to water in the world

  • Planting and regenerating millions of trees.  Thirty percent of women's income in the reforested areas now comes from tree products.

  • Developing a women's micro-credit fund of over £400,000 which has circulated successfully for over 25 years.  This has provided a lifeline to very poor women, allowing them to start small enterprises such as planting vegetable gardens and better crops, raising sheep and goats, and starting small market activities.  The original fund is now managed by the women and run autonomously.

  • Stabilising over 2000 acres of sand dunes.  This has sustained the livelihoods of over 30,000 people in a World Heritage Site that would otherwise have become uninhabitable.

  • Building 3 maternity centres and training over 800 Birth Attendants which has dramatically reduced maternal and child mortality.

  • Training communities in the collection of locust eggs.  Prior to this project up to 60% of harvests were lost to locusts and grasshoppers.

Dune planting

Joliba’s work has low administrative costs both in the UK and in Mali. Over 90% of our funds are spent directly on field projects.

A donkey-cart costs £145 and transforms the lives of rural women. It means women can collect firewood once a week instead of daily, and carry all the water they need for the family in one journey. It means they can bring in crops before they have spoilt or been eaten by birds, take manure to their fields, and reach new markets with their goods.

Where We Work


Mali is the largest country in West Africa (about seven times the size of Britain) and is made up mainly of arid plains bordering the Sahara desert.  "Joliba" is the Malian name for the River Niger, which runs through Mali, and means 'the riches of life'.

Mali is known for its rich culture, the warmth and friendliness of its people, and for cities like Timbuktu, which had one of the earliest universities in the world.

A beautiful mosque

The thatched buildings in a Dogon village are granaries

Mali is the fourth poorest country in the world.  It has 19.6 million people, most of whom live from the land as farmers and cattle-herders. Mali is one of the 20 countries most vulnerable to climate change.  In the last 40 years 60% of topsoil has been lost and 70% of pasture resources have disappeared. At COP26 the IPCC forecast a 6 degree rise in temperature in the Sahel.  


Working on dune stabilisation

Showing how the former dune areas are returning to forest.jpg

Thank you for your support

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