Ouelessebougou Alliance was founded in 1986 to give Utahns the opportunity to serve a specific African community – knowing that their assistance was going directly to the people for whom it was intended.
In the mid-1980’s, Mali faced the same devastating drought and famine as Ethiopia and Sudan, but received much less international assistance. Mali was considered one of the three poorest countries in the world. A group of Utah community leaders were concerned and through their partnership with Africare in Washington, D.C., they traveled to Mali to identify the area of greatest need. The rural area of Ouelessebougou was selected as a partner not only because of its dire circumstances, but also because it had the greatest potential for long-term sustainable impact.
The Alliance began by addressing the most basic human needs. Drinking and irrigation wells were constructed and healthcare for families was offered. In later years, education and economic development programs were added to further opportunities for growth and self-sufficiency.
For over thirty years, the Alliance has provided sustainable programs that not only improve the quality of life for villagers today but also for generations to come.
Ouelessebougou is the name of a sub-Saharan region in Mali, West Africa. It is located in the southwest part of the country, approximately 50 miles from the city of Bamako. The region covers approximately 1,118 square kilometers and includes the town of Ouelessebougou and 44 villages. In the 2009 census, there was a population of 50,056.
Ouelessebougou Alliance partners with 25 villages in and around Ouelessebougou commune. The 25 villages have a total population of approximately 22,500. Village populations range from 500-1400 people. The native language is Bamanankan, although some villagers know French phrases. 90% of Malians are Muslim.
Ouelessebougou is pronounced “Way-less-ay-boo-goo”