This assignment for IIED (The International Institute for Environment and Development) looks at dams on the River Niger in West Africa. The Seligue Dam, built on the River Niger and opened in 1982, provides Mali’s capital Bamako and other major cities with electricity. Fishermen work the Selingue lake that the dam created and there is irrigated land behind the dam. However, expectations of the benefits the dam would bring to nearby communities have often remained unmet.
Faraba, on the banks of the Selingue lake, Mali, April 2015; Korotomou Sidibe, 23, comes here three times a week to wash her family's clothes.
Carriere Fish market, Selingue, Mali, April 2015; traders bringing their fish in to sell on market day.
Selingue, Mali, April 2015; Aisseta Traore, 35, a fish seller for 10 years, buys from the fish market and sells it on. On a good day she can make a profit of 7,500 CFA (US$ 12.80).
Selingue, Mali, April 2015; Fousseni Kone 28, hair dresser is from from Segou, He is also works as a dancer.
Selingue, Mali, 25th April 2015; Zoumana Coulibaly, 26, motorbike mechanic, repairs bikes and makes 3,500 to 5,000 CFA (US$6 to US$8.5) a day. He also owns some rain-fed land, which is cultivated by a friend while he works here.
Delaba Koro, village 60 kms from Selingue, Mali, April 2015; This village took in many people who were displaced when the Selingue Dam was flooded in 1982. Rokia Camara, 18, (right) and other women in her family seal the walls of their house against the coming rains with a liquid mix of mud and animal dung.
Delaba Koro, village 60 kms from Selingue, Mali, April 2015; Oualama Doumbia, 56, farmer, fisherman, hunter, and son of the previous chief, wears his hunter's clothes and carries the skull of a wild boar he killed while hunting.
Delaba Koro, village 60 kms from Selingue, Mali, 27th April 2015; Elders listening during a discussion. This village took many people displaced by the dam - there were 500 people in the village before the dam and there are 2,500 now. They say expectations of the dam have not been met - they hoped for good health services, clean water, electricity and an overall improvement in agriculture, but 30 years later there is still no electricity, only one broken pump, the medical centre is not well equipped and there is only primary school for the children.
Delaba Koro, village 60 kms from Selingue, Mali, 27th April 2015; Fulani herdsman Ibrahim Boly, 46, from Bougouni, who came here because of good grazing also cultivates cotton and maize. He has sent most of his animals to the border but has kept the little calf with him as it’s only one month old and too young to make the journey.
Selingue, Mali, April 2015; Seydou Traore, 21, is farming this half hectre field of rice for his father. They would like to get new soil but can’t afford it. They must pay for water and fertilizer but now only get about 5 tons per hectre from their land.
Selingue, Mali, April 2015; Fatim Dolo grows okra and potato leaves in her gardening plot of 0.10 hectare behind the Seligue dam. She sell potato leaves at the market for 4,000 to 5,000 CFA (US$7 to US$8.5). Irrigation water is available but the plot is badly maintained. With proper advice from extension workers she could more than double her production.
Selingue, Mali, April 2015; Madame Sogoba, agricultural technician, is advising farmer Alou Doumbia to add Uree fertilizer as soon as possible to save his rice crop. He explains that his crop is behind because he could not afford to buy fertilizer. Interns at the Agricultural Advice Service will return to see how effective the advice has been.
Tanga village, Selingue region, Mali, 27th April 2015; Mamadou Camara, 42, a farmer, lived by the river at Tangakoro as a child where his family had good land and crops. Displaced to this village by the dam, his family were unhappy with poor land and lack of water. He would like to grow vegetables but the soil is too hard and rocky.
Faraba on the Selingue dam lake, Mali, April 2015; Faraba, Tidiane Tienta, 15, a spear fisherman, has just sold a kilo of fish he caught this morning for 1,000 CFA (US$1.7) to Ramata Sidibe. She is also 15 and newly married, and is buying fish to cook for the workers building her new house.
Selingue, Mali, 25th April 2015; Aissata Koita with her baby daughter, who is one month old and not yet named. She is part of a Bozo family, who typically live and work on the river.
Faraba gold mines near Selingue, Mali, 28th 2015. People come from all over Mali to work here in the dry season. Amadou Dicko, 22, has been here for 4 years.
Faraba, Mali, April 2015. Ganame, 27, left, and Youssouf, 27, came from Burkina Faso to work in the gold mines.
Faraba, Selingue, Mali, April 2015; Mane Sawadogo, 23, from Burkina Faso has been underground for two hours. Conditions are tough with stale air and a lot of water in the mines. His mine is 14 meters deep and from there they tunnel horizontally.
Faraba, Selingue, Mali, 28th April 2015; Doussou Traore, 8, with her sister Nakayan Traore, 18, is washing ore that the miners have thrown away. They make something from selling the small amounts of gold they find and give the money to their mother for their sister’s dowry. Doussou would like go to school but she enjoys this work.
Selingue, Mali, April 2015; One of the elders that control the mines. He says they need pumping equipment as there is too much water in the mines.
Selingue, Mali, April 2015; Moussa Kane, 18, and his friend on his donkey cart loaded with wood to sell that had already been cut by miners in the mining area. He also works part-time in the mines and last year made 750,000 CFA (US$ 1,280) to built his parents a new house. Uncontrolled wood cutting will damage the forest, he said, and is thinking about cooking with gas.