About Us

The Mali Development Group (MDG) began in the year 2000 when a group of friends from the Oxford area came together to set up a support group for the Malian NGO Jeunesse et Développement.

In the nearly 25 years since, MDG has developed into a charity which works with Malian partner organisations, to fund agreed development projects as well as offering practical support through the use of the skills of our members.

We believe that the Internet and easy information exchange have made new and more direct relationships achievable for smaller groups like ours, offering an opportunity to have a direct stake in specific projects and their impact, as well as the chance to make use of practical skills.

MDG is an organisation, which relies entirely on the skills and commitment of its members. We employ no one and our overheads are extremely small. We believe in close and long lasting partnerships with our Malian colleagues, and the importance of trusting and open relationships.

Within this web site you can learn more about Mali, our past projects and current priorities and see how MDG does its work and how you might contribute.

We hope you will want to support us.


Our History

Our charity was started in the year 2000 after a visit by Sue Upton, an English development worker attached to the Malian agency Jeunesse et Développement. She welcomed the suggestion that a small group of people in the UK could provide practical help, moral support and friendship links with J&D. Nearly 25 years later J&D remains one of our two principal partners in Mali.

A couple of years later we started to support a Malian artist called Kader Keita and his friends in their work with children living and working on the streets in Bamako. This enabled Kader to launch the Cultural Association called Pensons à Demain – “Let’s Think about Tomorrow” (PAD), which has gone from strength to strength over the intervening years.

We also aim to promote Mali and Malians in the UK. We have convened meetings of development agencies working in Mali, held a national conference on the issues facing the country, and run an email network. We maintain good working links with Malian groupings in the UK and, until his recent retirement, with the Honorary Mali Consul to the UK. We also set up the Mali Interest Group FaceBook page.

MDG in Mali

Our Privacy Policy

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How we work

MDG is managed and operated entirely by volunteers. We employ no one and as a result have very small overheads. We make use of any skills and time which we are offered and the organisation aims to involve as many people as it can. No prior experience is needed, just a commitment to Mali and its people and a willingness to contribute to MDG’s work.

If you like what you see on this website and would like to know more about how you might get involved in our group please do get in touch with our General Secretary, Judith Hartley on the contact page.

Projects Group – This group maintains the regular links with our Malian partners, and plans with them MDG’s contribution to their work. We have regular progress reports on how this is going and its impact. MDG aims for collaboration and flexible support in its partnerships and may offer information, skills and other resources as well as funding.

Fundraising and Finance Group – This group aims to put the fun into fundraising by getting involved in all sorts of events – quizzes, sales of all sorts, donating time for money, supporting runners in the London Marathon, or cyclists in Ride London 100, and having a good time themselves. The group is also responsible for applying for funding to trusts and foundations.

Communications Group – This group makes sure that our members are kept informed by managing the MDG web site, and producing publicity material, regular reports and newsletters. Many examples can be seen on the web site. Our pictures, designs and reports are all produced by our MDG volunteers.

Public Affairs group – This group is not currently very active, but the aim is to ensure that MDG has links with other organisations working in Mali, to promote awareness of Mali at events, conferences, concerts and even in Parliament. Overall, the group campaigns for stronger links between the UK and Mali.

The amazing "Babs" catering group