In this study we examine citizen engagement in Mali. We begin by discussing the concept of civil society associated with such engagement. We then draw on two sources of data (the 2006 light integrated household survey [ELIM] and the national election administrative reports) to analyse involvement in political and community life. The results show that even if most Malians have already taken part in political activities, only a small minority has actually ever voted, which is a crucial form of political participation. Another finding that raises questions is that the advantaged social groups are those that participate more in political activities, whereas the less advantaged are more likely to become involved in community life through associations. Lastly, participation in associations seems to encourage political participation, most probably because community involvement can awaken political consciousness, but also no doubt because involvement in associations can help increase one’s political influence.