UNICEF estimates that only 19% of adults in Mali can read and write. The Malian government cannot afford to fund education programs in the outlying villages around Ouelessebougou, so the Alliance supports eleven village schools to make education available. Since the inception of an Alliance education program in the mid-1990s, school enrollment has risen dramatically. The level of education proves to have an impact on the quality of health and economic development opportunities in a village.
11 Village Elementary Schools
In Ouelessebougou, 90% of children are unable to attend school. The Alliance has formalized an education program in 11 villages—providing quality education for village children who would not otherwise have that opportunity. Teachers are eliminating corporal punishment and are strengthening gender equity and active learning in their classrooms.
Since the inception of Alliance education programs, in the mid-1990’s, girls’ school enrollment has increased substantially. Girls’ enrollment in village schools where the Alliance works is 21% higher than national school enrollment in Mali. 761 girls and 979 boys are attending school this year in the Alliance’s 11 elementary schools—a total of 1,740 children!
Teacher Training and Supervision
Bamanankan & French Training
In 2005, the Mali government made a change to the national curriculum for first and second grades. The new curriculum required teachers to teach in their indigenous language, Bamanankan, in first and second grades, and then transition to teaching in Mali’s official language, French, in third through fifth grades. The Alliance was honored to be selected by the government to pilot the program and has seen great success over the years as children have learned to read and write in their traditional language. 23 teachers participate in the Alliance’s annual French/Bamanankan training. The goal of the training is to aid teachers as they strive to make the difficult transition from teaching in Bamanankan to teaching fully in French. Teachers are instructed on subjects including grammar, conjugation, vocabulary and dictation. Many teachers in Ouelessebougou were only instructed in French as children, so this training also serves as a language course for teachers.
Parent / Teacher Training (CGS—similar to PTA)
22 parents from 11 villages attended 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.
The Alliance works closely with four Lead Teachers who receive yearly training and a small stipend to coach other teachers in 11 schools. These four Lead Teachers were selected because of their exceptional teaching skills, particularly in engaging the students and facilitating small group work. The Lead Teachers make monthly visits to schools to follow-up on training and give constructive feedback to teachers.
Classroom Construction and School Supplies
Two-thirds of Alliance school classrooms are made of mud bricks and need extensive annual maintenance to protect against Mali’s harsh rainy season. In the past five years, the Alliance has constructed 12 new concrete classrooms, which last longer than mud brick structures. The Alliance plans to construct new classrooms in coming years so that 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 11 village elementary schools. Supplies include: pencils, paper, chalk boards, chalk, erasers, maps and some textbooks.
Education Plans and School Enrollment
In October 2008, the Utah-based education committee and the Alliance’s Mali staff worked with two villages, Dialakoro-Keleya and Bamakoni, to establish Village Education Plans. Through a two-day training session, the village education council in both villages established its vision of what a literate village would look like, determined priorities, and assigned specific tasks to council members.
In 2010, the villages of Famana and Fadiobougou began their education plans and chose to make adult literacy classes a high priority. They asked the Alliance to support them by providing solar panels for their elementary schools so they would have light for their evening classes. The Alliance installed these panels and since then villages have taken responsibility for the management of their classes and the payment of the instructors’ salaries.
Watch our Education Video