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Feb 15, 2019

$5 Can Save a Life

One of my favorite parts of visiting Ouelessebougou is seeing our vaccination program in action. This last November, I travelled to Mali to work with our local staff and one of the villages we visited was Djenfing. Like many of our villages in rural Ouelessebougou, it takes a long, hot and bumpy drive to get there but when you are greeted by happy, welcoming villagers the discomfort is quickly forgotten. They are eager to partner with the Alliance and work to solve the health problems of the village. 

The scene in Djefing isn't unique. It is common in all of our 25 villages. Village mothers will wait, typcially under a shaded tree, with their children in tow for the vaccinations to arrive from the Ouelessebougou hospital. Even if they don't have a child needing a vaccination, some will come join to socialize and support the other women. Sometimes the wait is long, but they are patient and content knowing how important the immunizations are for their children. 

"I know my baby can be healthy (because of the shots)," said a young mother Mariam. "I want her to grow up to be strong."

Thank you for giving these beautiful village children a healthy start. Your donations make all the difference. For only $5, a child in Ouelessebougou will receive vaccinations for nine life-threatening disease. The cost of a morning coffee or sandwich at lunch is all it takes to save a life.

We ask for your continued support as we work to reach our goalof raising $3,300 by the end of May 2019. This will give us the means to reach an additional 660 children before the rainy season. Please donate or help spread the word. Together we can improve the health of children in Africa.

Dec 4, 2018

Send Girls to School - All Month Long!

Not too many years ago, village parents in the rural villages of Mali only sent their sons to school to obtain an education. Daughters were left to care for their younger siblings, while their mothers and fathers worked in the fields daily. In the 35 years the Alliance has been committed to providing health and education programs in Ouelessebougou, so much has improved when it comes to village schools and providing an education for all.

Last year 2,211 students attended school in the Alliance's 12 partner elementary schools, and 43% of those attending daily were girls! It has been a marvelous shift in society to see villagers, young and old, recognize the importance of making education a priority for girls. 

This week an expedition group from Utah is in Mali visiting villages and educating girls and their mothers on the Days For Girls program and distributing the much anticipated Days For Girls kits. We have been excited over the past year to partner with Days For Girls International which focuses on sending girls to school all month long--regardless of whether they are on their period cycle or not. This year we are excited to expand the program into more villages--allowing even more girls to attend school ALL month long! 

Nov 19, 2018

Garden Wells Increase Production & Improve Health

Chronic food insecurity is a serious concern in Mali. While malnutrition afflicts the entire population, it is the second leading cause of death in children under the age of 5. For decades, the Alliance has partnered with villagers in Ouelessebougou to fight the issue of malnutrition with sustainable projects that emphasize collaboration and community. We have constructed more than 150 drinking and garden wells, created community gardens and provided nutrition, gardening and small farmer training. These efforts have decreased malnutrition-related deaths and illness in 25 villages.

In 2014, the Alliance developed an agricultural program specifically aimed at village women and children. The Nurturing Nutrition program provides education on nutrition and gardening practices so women and children can work together to produce healthy food for their families. This program was modeled after the successful Women’s Association Garden, established many years ago by the Ouelessebougou Alliance and community women.

In 2016, the primary school in Famana became the pilot program for our first school garden. The Alliance partnered with the school to construct two concrete wells in the student garden, supply tools and provide training. Here students gained practical knowledge such as basic gardening techniques, how to grow and preserve food properly and use chemical fertilizers and composting methods. Over 120 students learned the lessons taught to their mothers by the Alliance and are now working side-by-side in the school garden. Thanks to our donors the garden continues to be a great success.

The Ouelessebougou Alliance is seeking funding to construct a solar pump well for the school of Bassa. Bassa is a small rural village in the region of Ouelessebougou with approximately 1,000 inhabitants. The villagers and school leadership want to start a garden modeled after the one at the Famana school.

Based on the success of the OA Women’s Garden and the Famana School Garden, we anticipate families will have a guaranteed food source, which will help create a generation that suffers less from nutrition related illnesses. Approximately 65 women and over 75 2nd – 6th graders will work in the garden together, taking home healthy food to their families which will benefit the Bassa community. When there is an excess crop, the women and older children will be able to sell their produce at the market to increase their income which will support their families. The goal is to not only provide sustainable food sources at home, but also increase crop production so families have more to eat and have enough left over to make extra income. 

Thank you for supporting the nutrition program in Ouelessebougou, Mali!

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