Following the regional training workshop held in Benin, in December 2013, on the initiative of UNESCO, the National Committee Memory of the World of Mali organized a capacity-building workshop from 6 to 8 June 2014, in cooperation with the UNESCO/Bamako office. The workshop was designed to better equip those involved in the Memory of the World (MOW) Programme and more specifically in safeguarding manuscripts.
At the opening ceremony held at the National Library, Mr. Tall Mountaga noted that information has become a strategic commodity these days to large companies, to countries and having the right information at the right moment is a great advantage. "This is why the preservation of and access to the most threatened and most important elements of our documentary heritage is guided by a professional will, I would say also by the political will of Mali to provide our fellow citizens in the country as well as outside of Mali reliable information on our country", said the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research.
Demba Mamadou Sissoko, the President of the Memory of the World Committee and Director of National Libraries and Documentation noted that “this workshop is the beginning of a series of activities that will boost the MOW National Committee”. The objective is for Mali to increase the number of registered documents and one day perhaps to pretend also for the Jikji Prize’.
The workshop brought together participants from several institutions, agencies and associations in Mali who got familiar with, among others: the notion of documentary heritage and Memory of the World Programme; the basics of an operational system and the National Memory of the World Register, the Jikji Prize and the selection criteria for inclusion in the Memory of the World register.
Participants made several recommendations to the government, to UNESCO, and to the institutions in charge of documentary heritage and the Memory of the World National Committee. They recommended, among others, the need to strengthen the technical and human resource capacities at the national libraries management level, at the management level as concerns documentation and national archives, particularly in the field of preventive conservation, restoration and binding of documents.
Participants also called for the development of a national plan for safeguarding documents of considerable value, especially in times of conflict or natural disasters. The National Committee was requested to proceed as quickly as possible with the identification of documentary heritage which Mali would like to enroll in the National Memory of the World register, and finish this task in June 2014, at the latest.
UNESCO launched the Memory of the World Programme to guard against collective amnesia calling upon the preservation of the valuable archive holdings and library collections all over the world ensuring their wide dissemination. The Programme is intended to protect documentary heritage, and helps networks of experts to exchange information and raise resources for preservation of and access to documentary material.