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Education Initiatives

  • Villagers improve their access to and quality of education
  • Villages have effective and viable village education plans
  • Villages have increased opportunities for adult literacy

“Before the school came, our village was in darkness. After the school came, we came into light.” ~ Sena Village Chief

In 1992, Ouelessebougou Alliance designated education as a primary focus of its mission. An Adult Literacy program was initiated and 300 villagers received instruction in Bambara – the first of its kind in Mali – for reading, writing and math.  The villagers’ thirst for education led to more sustainable programs including school construction, teacher training and education councils. The lives of over 25,000 children and adults have been transformed through the Alliance’s education programs.

The Alliance partners with 12 villages and supports 12 elementary schools providing formal education for children who would not otherwise have that opportunity.  Over 2,200 students were enrolled in the 2016-2017 school year. Since the inception of our education programs, girls’ school enrollment has increased substantially. In 2016-2017, 48% of students attending school were GIRLS! The Alliance is committed to increasing the enrollment of girls and providing education opportunities for everyone.

17 – 18 Education Goals

Sufficient School Facilities & Materials

The Alliance knows that school facilities can have a profound impact on both teacher and student outcomes. In the rural region of Ouelessebougou, villagers face challenges of providing adequate instructional space for effective teaching to take place. The Alliance partners with 12 village schools to provide sufficient school facilities and materials to ensure a quality learning environment. Projects are based on the need of each school and have included providing latrines, hand-washing stations and solar panels.

More than 65 classrooms have been constructed since 1994. Many of our older schools are made of mud bricks. Because of Mali’s harsh rainy season, the mud bricks deteriorate over time. In the past five years, the Alliance has constructed over 20 new concrete classrooms, which last longer than mud brick structures. The Alliance has a 5 year plan for construction so each school will have adequate cement classrooms. With this goal, villages can become eligible to have their education programs sustained by the government of Mali.


The Alliance also provides school supplies and bench desks for 12 village elementary schools. A bench desk seats 4 students and in some areas, they must share school supplies. School supplies include pencils, paper, chalk boards, chalk, erasers, maps and textbooks. The supplies are not limited to the students. The Alliance also provides teaching supplies, bench desks and other materials for the teachers.

This year the Alliance is constructing three new cement classrooms for the Neneko school to be completed in time for the beginning of school this Fall. In addition to providing textbooks and school supplies, the Alliance will invest in new desks for 72 village teachers. 


Effective Teachers

The Alliance knows that children learn best when teachers are trained and supported. When the Education Program started in 1992, one of the first initiatives was to train 28 teachers in their local language of Bambara. For 25 years, the Alliance has continued to develop quality teachers. Investing in our teachers ensures success and reduces turnover.  We partner with Mali’s Ministry of Education to routinely evaluate and coach all teachers in our 12 village schools. $75 covers the cost for a trained professional to conduct quarterly evaluations and complete written reports on teacher performance. A successful teacher equals a successful student!

In 2011, the Alliance partnered with CAP- Centers of Educational Support (Centres d’Animation Pédagogique) from the Ministry of Education. CAP Supervisors are Malian education experts who evaluate teacher performance and then make recommendations for further training. The Alliance then offers training sessions based on the greatest need. We have offered French/Bamanankan training and Reading/Writing training.

This year 72 village teachers will receive training in French, math and lesson planning. They will also receive CAP supervision and training. 


Effective Education Councils & Plans

CGS School Management Committees (Comités de Gestion Scolaire)
The Alliance works diligently with parents so they understand the importance of education in all their children’s’ lives. 24 parents from 12 villages attend a one-day training to learn about ways to become more involved with their children’s schools. Parents are now determined to make sure teachers are paid monthly and on time, and that female enrollment continues to increase in the classrooms.

Education Council
Following the model of the Alliance’s Health Council program, village chiefs form Education Councils — a group of respected leaders who are organized to improve the literacy of their village. The Alliance facilitates planning sessions and the Education Councils envision what a literate village would look like like and then determine goals, set priorities and create a work strategy to make their goals a reality. Goals have included increasing girls’ enrollment, adult literacy and parent committees.

This year Education Council and Health Council leaders will join together for a training to discuss and share leadership strategies.


Increased Opportunities for Adult Literacy

Since the early 90’s, over 5,000 women and men have benefited from the Alliance’s adult literacy programs. But Mali continues to have low literacy rates, particularly in women. The Alliance knows that literacy is valuable component of empowerment to break the cycle of poverty.

All of the Alliance’s programs are locally vetted and driven by the needs of the villages. Due to an increased interest in adult literacy from the Education Councils, the Alliance will provide classes in the Fall 2017. Each Alliance school has solar panels allowing adults to attend classes in the evening. The villages will take responsibility for the management of the classes and school facilities. The Alliance will facilitate teacher training and provide a stipend for each teacher.

This year the Alliance will hold a two-day teacher training and facilitate adult literacy classes in 12 village schools from October – December 2017.

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