By FECONG, member of Forus in Mali.
The Mali Federation of NGO Collectives (FECONG) has set up a website, a Facebook page and a Twitter account as part of the "Project to strengthen FECONG's visibility and its capacity to support members".
After these communication tools were designed, training was provided to a team of communication managers from the NGO collectives targeted by the project, so that they can maintain the online presence. The team consists of representatives from two member collectives in Bamako, five in the interior of the country and the Federation's Head of Communication.
Each team member is responsible for writing articles about the activities of the collective and of the NGOs in their region. This encourages ownership of the project by the member collectives and the NGOs and offers them visibility.
As in other countries, the COVID-19 pandemic in Mali has seriously affected NGO activities and has shaken up habits. Added to the pandemic is the sociopolitical crisis that led the President of the Republic to resign.
Against this backdrop, the team began and continues its task of managing the website (www.fecongmali.org) and its social media accounts on Facebook (@FecongMali) and Twitter (@FecongMali).
The difficulties encountered concern poor Internet connection, which is often disrupted in some regions, and the need to improve some web managers' article-writing skills.
The website and social networking platforms have become a real tool of expression for FECONG, which has used them to publish a message to raise awareness about observing COVID-19 prevention measures, as well as a statement on its position regarding the sanctions imposed on Mali by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
After six (6) months of operation, the website has recorded 2041 visits.
Funded by the French Development Agency (FDA) and the European Union through FORUS, the project covers a period of 10 months and has been appreciated by member collectives. The President of the Regional Coordination of NGOs in Mopti said, "These tools will allow us to relaunch our Federation and enable it to continue providing its services to us as members in particular, and to NGOs in general".
FECONG is now on the world wide web and has tools to make its voice heard and support the actions and positions that it chooses. The challenge is to make sure that the website and social network profiles are regularly managed. The key to success here is to be able to rely permanently on competent, motivated website managers. The steps taken to that end are working so far, and we are making sure that we continue to improve them.