Attaher Zacka Maïga was born on 10 May 1963 in Bia, Bourem Cercle, Gao Region, Mali. He has spent his life in the service of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, joining the Mali Red Cross as a volunteer in 1987 before working for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies as a nutritionist in a pilot centre for nutritional recovery and education in Bourem from January 1988 to June 1990. In 1990 and 1991 he acted as consultant to a number of organizations, including World Vision and UNICEF.
In April 1992, Attaher Maïga joined the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) as a “resident” (i.e. local) employee. Since then, he has held many positions. From 1996 to 2000, he was in charge of the Gao office, which employed almost 100 staff, both resident and “mobile” (expatriate). He then took charge of the ICRC's programmes in northern Mali from 2001 to 2006, ran the organization's office in the Malian capital Bamako from 2007 to 2008 and was responsible for the Mali communication programme between 2009 and 2011. From November 2011 to November 2014, he was head of the ICRC's northern Mali sub-delegation, one of the first resident employees to lead an ICRC sub-delegation. Since 2015, Attaher Maïga has been Networking Coordinator for the ICRC's Mali delegation.
In 1996, Mr Maïga initiated the ICRC's post-conflict programmes in his country, covering the fields of agriculture, veterinary services and health. In 2009, he launched a pilot migrant project in Kidal, northern Mali. These much-appreciated initiatives resulted in his being invited to participate in the 2010 Montreuil meeting, which laid the foundations for the reforms currently underway.
Attaher was the first Mali focal point for the ICRC's Unit for Global Affairs. This role gave him a deeper understanding of trends in the Islamic world and enabled him to help the ICRC adjust its dialogue with Jihadist armed groups. Our interview with Mr Maïga highlights his extensive experience with one of the oldest humanitarian organizations and is an opportunity for him to share his understanding of the ICRC's interaction with the armed groups that controlled northern Mali in 2012, when he was representing the ICRC in the region.
Attaher Maïga holds a degree in public administration from the Institut de Gestion et des Langues Appliquées aux Métiers, Bamako.