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Benbere

Malian bloggers build coexistence

Benbere was launched in Mali in May 2018. The platform aims to reflect the voices of a highly fragmented country. There is a striking lack of knowledge among Young Malians about their peers in the different regions of North, South and Centre as well as of the different ethnicities and traditions. Benbere enables young Malians to understand each other better.

All voices included

Meetings with a broad network of local bloggers and potential partners as well as youth consultations indicated that there was a real need for a platform promoting social cohesion and representing the voices of all people in Mali. Young Malians as well as politicians actively engage on social media and there is a strong blogging culture meaning an online platform would have the potential both to harness existing local expertise – and reach decision makers.

Building understanding

Benbere aims to build an online community of people from across Mali by increasing understanding between social groups who have no or little knowledge of each other. A broad network of bloggers from all over the country represent the viewpoints of Mali’s different communities with content reflecting the country’s cultural diversity. These contributors are coordinated by Benbere teams based in Mali’s two main cities – the capital Bamako in the South and Timbuktu in the North.

Voice for feminists

Benebere is also slowly becoming a place for people to talk about women’s rights. Topics such as marriage and professional life are addressed from women’s perspectives, which is unusual in Mali’s media. The Benbere bloggers have confronted several restrictive social norms and the platform encourages debates on everyday but little-discussed issues: from early marriages to polygamy

Onward and upward

Benbere partners with an existing network of Malian bloggers, Doniblog, offering them more structure, more means and resources to achieve a greater scope. sTo ensure Benbere’s successful growth continue, time and energy is being invested in further training and mentoring for the network of contributors and strategies developed to increase the size and engagement of the community. The next major step will be a move into organising offline events – a debate series where young people can connect with formal and informal decision makers to discuss the issues that are important to them and, we hope, influence the policies that affect their lives.

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