Friends of Mali Projects

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Narena Business Training Program
Samene Community Gardens
Wolongotoba Cow Husbandry
Dioila Hospital latrines and Soakpits
Sokouroni School Expansion

Narena Business Training Program

The Commune of Narena, population 11,857, is home to various business and trades workers. This includes small shop owners, tailors, carpenters, and mechanics among others. The majority of these workers have little to no knowledge on the basic principles of how to manage a business. This is due primarily to a lack of education and opportunity to acquire such skills. The workers of Narena are excited and eager to improve their business acumen.
Through the assistance of the Peace Corps Partnership Program these workers will be able to take the first step in improving their businesses and in turn their overall standards of living. Through a three day training focusing on the basics of accounting, basic business management techniques and creating cooperatives the workers of Narena will be given the skills necessary to improve their businesses. The improvement in the operation of their businesses will also translate into benefits for their standard of living that of their families, and the commune in general.

Samene Community Gardens

The partner assistance funds are requested to create four community gardens in the village of Samene. The funds will be used to dig an improved well in each of the gardens and purchase chain link fencing and steel posts to protect the gardens. Due to the Samene’s large size and the high level of interest, the village decided that there needed to be at least one garden in each of the primary residential districts. The project aims to provide enough gardening space so that all the community members with an interest in gardening can participate. The materials that have been chosen will ensure that the gardens are well protected from the animals and will hold up over time.
A community gardening project is the top priority for the village of Samene. The gardening project targets many of the major difficulties the village currently faces including high rates of malnutrition, a lack of work during the non farming season and a lack of income generating activities, especially for women. Currently in samene it is very rare for people to eat produce and most families eat millet based dishes three times a day. This project promises to make fresh produce locally available and provide small income generating activities and work for the people of Samene.
The community members of Samene are prevented from moving forward with this project on their own because individual families lack access to good land, a reliable water source and the initial capital inputs necessary to get the gardens started. I believe that given a secure plot of land and a source of water, the people of Samene have all the knowledge and motivation to make the gardens flourish. The community has demonstrated their support by donating materials, labor and direct financial contribution.

Wolongotoba Cow Husbandry

Wolongotoba’s Men’s group, consisting of 3 men from the village of Wolongotoba plus several small hamlets, meets regularly twice a month to discuss future development projects and dispense 400 CFA into their group caisse.
The Men’s group has a desire to start a sustainable cow embouche project. While many villagers themselves participate in small animal husbandry, the village does not have the resources to take on a large organized embouche project themselves. The plan is to collectively raise fifteen cows bough from Banamba over a period of four month, feeding them special feed to fatten them up. After four months, the cows will be brought down to the capital of Mali, Bamako for sale. The profit gained through this transaction will go back into the Men’s group caisse to restart the project with more cows. Over time, the group will be able to purchase more cows, generating more income.
The project calls for Partnership help in purchasing the fifteen cows. After which the village will be responsible for transporting the cows between markets, building a pen for them buying vaccines and feed and taking care of them. The Men’s group in Wolongotoba is the largest and best organized group within the town giving them the best chance to impact the town with development projects. The cow embouche project has a high chance for success and sustainabilityl the Men’s group is capable of finding a profit in the raising of the cows and organized enough to insure the funds go back into the group for the next cycle.

Dioila Hospital Latrines and Soakpits

The Cercle of Dioila supports two CSRefs or hospitals; the older CSRef in Dioila proper and a brand new CSRef in the town of Fana. At the Dioila CSRef there is a significant problem with wastewater management and a deficit of latrine facilities. Given the need to maintain high standards at the hospital to avoid infecting already vulnerable patients and the role of the CSRef as a point of reference for hygiene matters, addressing these issues is a priority for the community.
Following the yearly process of developing a sanitation plan for the hospital, the hospital to cease having to site and build new latrines when the current latrines fill. This process is particularly arduous due to the rocky, clayey soil of Dioila. Addressing the wastewater management problems will help to interrupt the transmission cycles of malaria avarious diarrhea diseases.
The community seeks Peace Corps Partnership support in building new latrine blocks for the surgery and medical units, repairing the latrines at the maternity unit and placing soakpits at all latrine and robinet sites to control waste water.

Sokouroni School Expansion

Sokouroni, a small Senoufo-speaking village in southeast Mali, is home to approximately 600 farmers – adults and children. Despite long hours being put into the fields, the people of Sokouroni are eager to spend their free time studying. Since arriving to Sokouroni I have been most impressed by the percentage of children and adults actively engaging in studying. At night, by the light of a bonfire, people of all ages gather to learn to speak and write Arabic. Every day during the dry season, adults teach other adults how to read and write the most widely language spoken in Mali, Bambara. There is also an adult literacy class for Senoufo. The primary school, started, funded, maintained, and taught by the local villagers has 3 classes. 100% of their students pass their tests to go to the 2nd cycle school in a larger neighboring village. When a teacher has to be absent, other villagers step into take his place. The students do not get a break from studying. This is very unusual in a village school. Even in government-funded schools, this type of discipline towards studying is rare. Despite all this devotion and enthusiasm to learn, the potential of the villagers is hampered by the conditions in which they are taught.
Currently, one out of the three primary school classes is taught in a dark, stuffy, and cramped mud building. The adult literacy class for Bambara is taught in an even smaller and darker mud building. These structures require constant maintenance – plastering with a new coat of mud every year and replacing the wood and straw roofing periodically. The mud structures prohibit the building of large windows which allow light to come in. From the back of the classroom it is very difficult to see the chalk board in the front. While these facilities are substandard and make learning more difficult, the people of Sokouroni are used to making due with what they have. However, after holding community meetings, improving their current school buildings was a need expressed by the community. Improved buildings will also allow the adult literacy program to grow. Building bigger and brighter classrooms will facilitate learning and raise the morale of students, teachers, and the community. Two new classrooms would be used to move the students that are currently learning in mud buildings with straw roofs into long-lasting cement structures with large windows, desks, and tin-roofing. With an additional classroom, the school association (Lakoli Ton) would be able to hire one more teacher, getting more children into the school system. Expanding the school with the construction of three new classrooms will raise the potential of the village to educate itself. The people of Sokourani are asking for PCPP assistance in helping to build 3 new schoolrooms. The villagers are eager and have promised a 37% contribution to the project through its labor and locally available materials.