Owning the process: Public participation in peacemaking
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In an effort to end persistent violent conflict in northern Mali, in late 1994 local leaders began to organise local inter-community meetings. Kåre Lode of Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) describes how these often resulted in localised ceasefires but failed to address the root causes of the conflict. 

The cumulative outcome of dozens of meetings involving thousands of people throughout the north was stability, the foundations for national reconciliation and a greater sense of empowerment for local self-governance.

Kåre Lode

From this process a group of civil society leaders formed a facilitation group, supported by the NCA, which systematised the process and facilitated meetings across the north to address broader and deeper issues. A third phase of meetings emerged, supported by the UNDP but still firmly rooted in local ownership. 

As a cumulative process the meetings contributed to stability and security and provided the basis for national reconciliation, local development and empowerment.