Newfound confidence and abilities

The Tandana Foundation organizes and supports a number of women’s programs in the Bandiagara District of Mali, including literacy, numeracy, and leadership courses and income-generating activities. The following blog contains a recent update from a literacy and leadership student who shares a story of what she was able to accomplish through participating in the courses. Continue reading “Newfound confidence and abilities”

Two Olouguelemo members from different villages share the association’s progress in its environmental protection efforts

Now 19 villages strong, the Olouguelemo Environmental Association continues to implement conservation and restoration projects throughout the Wadouba Township of Mali. The Tandana Foundation supports this village-run association by providing resources and teaching best practice techniques. Below, two members from different villages talk about the successful outcomes of their work so far. Continue reading “Two Olouguelemo members from different villages share the association’s progress in its environmental protection efforts”

Grain banks help villages become self-reliant

In Mali’s Bandiagara District, food security is a major concern. Community members work hard, farming millet, peanuts, sorghum, cowpeas, and other crops, and yet decreasing rainfall and increasing pest problems have caused harvests to diminish. In most years, most families cannot harvest enough food to last them through the year until the next harvest. Cash income is very difficult to come by in the villages, so young people must then go to the cities to look for work and send money home so their families can purchase food.  The shortage is most acute during the rainy season– the busy agricultural period when they need the calories the most in order to work hard and also the time of year when the market price of grain is highest.  Continue reading “Grain banks help villages become self-reliant”

Tandana to offer Virtual Ventures to Ecuador and Mali in April

With travel and social distancing restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Tandana Foundation is launching a free series of Virtual Venture trips to Ecuador and Mali this April. Each one-hour video conference will have a different topic and provide participants with the opportunity to talk with Tandana’s staff and friends from its partner communities, watch videos, and hear about recent work the organization is doing in the countries. Continue reading “Tandana to offer Virtual Ventures to Ecuador and Mali in April”

The many impacts of the Olouguèlèmo Association’s environmental protection work

The Olouguèlèmo Association has been actively organizing and implementing projects to conserve and restore the biodiversity and environment across the Wadouba Township of Mali. Nineteen communities are now a part of the association, which receives support from The Tandana Foundation in the form of funds, training, and other resources. In the following blog, Moussa Tembiné gives a summary of the Olouguèlèmo Association’s work and describes the positive results of their activities. Continue reading “The many impacts of the Olouguèlèmo Association’s environmental protection work”

A job teaching others, and learning so much in return

The Tommo So literacy, numeracy, and leadership classes organized by The Tandana Foundation have trained more than 1,400 women in rural Mali and impacted thousands of more lives. Besides empowering and changing the lives of the students in the classes, the program has also created new and transformative jobs as instructors for other community members and even previous students themselves. One instructor, Hama Kansaye, describes what he has learned as a result of being trained as an instructor, and how the role has impacted his life below. Continue reading “A job teaching others, and learning so much in return”

Overwhelming generosity enables Tandana to expand programs

Thanks to the support of dozens of purpose-driven individuals, The Tandana Foundation was able to raise enough money to increase the number of people who will be able to participate in three programs it organizes with communities in rural Ecuador and Mali. During its annual Friends and Funds Raiser event, Tandana raised thousands of dollars, which the nonprofit will use to welcome more students into its scholarship program in Ecuador, and more women into its literacy and numeracy and student-mothers programs in Mali. Continue reading “Overwhelming generosity enables Tandana to expand programs”

Tommo So – a language of unimaginable value

A language is an important part of any culture, along with the identity of its people. The ability to speak, read, and write allows a community to communicate with one another and conduct business and everyday transactions. Despite being told otherwise, Sophie Sorgho learned that Tommo So, a language spoken by the Dogon people of Mali, has great value thanks to her participation in literacy classes organized by The Tandana Foundation in her village. In the following, Sophie shares her story. Continue reading “Tommo So – a language of unimaginable value”

The importance of literacy for using cellphones

Cellphones are an important means of communication for many people around the world, but being able to use them requires the ability to read what is displayed on the screens. In a recent conversation, one prospective student speaks with Kessia Kouriba, a literacy teacher for The Tandana Foundation in Mali, about her desire to take the Tommo So literacy classes in order to be able to operate her phone.  Continue reading “The importance of literacy for using cellphones”

The progress of the Savings For Change group in Dimbily

The Tandana Foundation has partnered with villages around the Bandiagara District of Mali to establish Savings For Change groups in their communities. As a result, thousands of women have benefited from the micro-loan program, including Fatouma Kouriba, who provides an update on the SFC group in Dimbily below. Continue reading “The progress of the Savings For Change group in Dimbily”

The impact of the Kilegou school garden

In April 2018, the Tandana Foundation partnered with the residents of Kilegou to create a garden at the elementary and junior high school. To support their efforts in establishing the school garden, Tandana provided the community members with a fence, tools, training, seeds, and water containers, helping to solve the water problem during the driest months. The students are now growing many vegetables, some of which they sell to earn money for their notebooks, pens, and other school supplies. Read the thoughts of the school’s director and a student about the impact of the garden below. Continue reading “The impact of the Kilegou school garden”

A trusted partner in Mali

Not every organization or individual who promises to help a group of people delivers on that promise. The Tandana Foundation, however, has earned the reputation that the organization can be trusted after continually following through on the projects it has collaborated on. In the following, Sara Tembine describes how she and other women in her village were deceived, and how her knowledge of Tandana’s work led her to argue in favor of her village partnering with Tandana on several projects. Continue reading “A trusted partner in Mali”

Finishing school, even with a baby

The Tandana Foundation’s student mothers program helps girls from rural villages in the Bandiagara District of Mali attend middle school, even if they become mothers. To go to schools in the city, girls must find families to host them, but if they get pregnant, the families usually send them back to their villages and they have to drop out of school. Through this program, Tandana trains families to explain that they can still host the students even if they are young mothers. In addition, it also provides food and basic medical supplies for the babies, so they are not an additional cost to the families. Tandana currently supports 10 student mothers, assisting them in staying in school despite the challenges of motherhood. Below one of these student mothers, Mariam Doumbo, shares the many benefits this program has offered her.
Continue reading “Finishing school, even with a baby”

Evaluating the success of our women’s program in Mali

The Women’s Literacy, Leadership, and Enterprise (formerly known as the Women LEAP program,) which was launched by the Tandana Foundation with support from Dining for Women, has been highly successful. The project’s goal is to promote women’s economic independence and participation in local decision-making in the Bandiagara District of Mali by improving their literacy, numeracy, and association management, democratic governance, and leadership skills. Continue reading “Evaluating the success of our women’s program in Mali”

Hear from participants in the Women’s Literacy, Leadership, and Enterprise program

The Tandana Foundation’s Women’s Literacy, Leadership, and Enterprise program has touched the lives of more than 1,000 women in Mali. As the program continues to grow, thanks to its proven success, increasing demand, and support from Dining for Women, Foundation Beyond Belief, and others, it’s always nice to hear from the women who are a part of the program. The following blog contains the testimonials from three courageous women about how the Tommo So literacy and numeracy classes, leadership workshops, and Savings for Change initiatives have impacted their lives. Continue reading “Hear from participants in the Women’s Literacy, Leadership, and Enterprise program”

Tandana funds six women’s association enterprises in Mali

As part of the Women’s Literacy, Leadership, and Enterprise Program, the Tandana Foundation used part of a grant from Dining for Women to provide startup funding for six new women’s associations’ business proposals in the Bandiagara District of Mali. These women’s associations are now starting income-generating activities, including making nutritional seasoning balls out of néré seeds, raising sheep, transforming cotton into cloth and indigo dyeing.  Continue reading “Tandana funds six women’s association enterprises in Mali”

The roots of intercultural collaboration and friendship in Mali

Volunteers and residents of Kansongho celebrate restoration of the well

Every story of friendship has a beginning. For the Tandana Foundation and the Bandiagara District in rural Mali, the story began when Tandana’s founder Anna Taft first visited the Kansongo village in 2007. Despite initial hesitations, this friendship blossomed into a mutually beneficial relationship, creating unanticipated opportunities for intercultural learning and much more. The following blog post describes how this friendship grew into a great collaboration between the American foundation and the local community, along with the impact of their joint efforts. Continue reading “The roots of intercultural collaboration and friendship in Mali”

‘Long live the Tandana Foundation’

In rural Mali, the Tommo So literacy and numeracy classes, along with the recently launched leadership workshops, which are made possible thanks to the support from Dining for Women, continue to have extremely positive impacts on the women who participate in them. Below, three women share their stories of how these programs, which have been established in many villages by the Tandana Foundation, have changed their lives for the better and have assisted them in becoming community leaders. Continue reading “‘Long live the Tandana Foundation’”

Olouguèlemo Association launches reforestation campaign in Wadouba, Mali

Thanks to the continuous assistance and advisory support from the Tandana Foundation, the Olouguelemo Association was able to organize, for the first time, a reforestation campaign in the township of Wadouba, Mali, in partnership with the town hall.

Here are the speeches recorded during the launch ceremony of the reforestation campaign in Wadouba, which took place on August 17, 2018. Continue reading “Olouguèlemo Association launches reforestation campaign in Wadouba, Mali”

Taking risks to become female leaders

The Tandana Foundation, in collaboration with Alpha Formation Traduction et Conception Documentaire au Pays Dogon and support from Dining for Women, organized workshops about women’s leadership. During one of the workshops, after a module about the topic of the difficulties of women leaders, particularly lack of self-confidence, participant Aissata Kansaye, who was selected as the policewoman of the workshop, described one of her past struggles in order to encourage other women to take risks. Continue reading “Taking risks to become female leaders”

Reflections from Savings For Change members in Teguedou

Interested in learning what women in the  Savings For Change (SFC) program think of the impact of their participation? Below, three members from the village of Teguedou share their reflections on the  SFC program, which is a savings and credit program for women that the Tandana Foundation has helped establish in many communities in Mali. The goal of the program is to allow members to pool their savings and take out loans in order to assist them in starting or expanding micro-businesses. Continue reading “Reflections from Savings For Change members in Teguedou”

Another village asks to join the Olouguelemo Association

From April 27-28, the General Assembly of the Olouguelemo Association – funded by the Tandana Foundation – was held in Andjine Nantanga, Mali. During the General Assembly, a delegation of villagers from Biné requested permission to join the fifteen villages that were already part of the Olouguelemo Association after witnessing the successful growth of trees in nearby protected forest areas, which members of the association came together to establish and oversee. The following are comments from the Biné delegates. Continue reading “Another village asks to join the Olouguelemo Association”

What we can do now

 

Organizing in work groups. Making phone calls independently. Teaching their children to read and do math. These are a just a few examples of what three women, of the more than one thousand women who have participated in the Tommo So literacy and numeracy classes and recently launched leadership workshops, write about what what their participation in these programs – made possible thanks to support from Dining for Women,  assists them in doing. Below, those three women share their experiences before and after taking part in these programs, all of which the women asked the Tandana Foundation to help bring to their villages in rural Mali. Continue reading “What we can do now”

‘We see clearly, we hear, we walk’

After women in the village of Kansongho told the Tandana Foundation that they would like to learn literacy and numeracy skills, so that they could keep records for their businesses and be independent in the marketplace, Tandana began the Tommo So literacy program in 2012. When women in neighboring villages saw what women in Kansongho were learning, they too, asked to participate, and that demand has continued to spread. To date, Tandana has provided classes to 1,117 women in 29 villages thanks to support from Dining for Women. In 2018, the foundation added women’s leadership workshops for former literacy students from each village to its offerings and supported these leaders in creating official women’s associations. Each new association was invited to submit a proposal for an income-generating enterprise, and the ten best proposals were selected to receive funding. The following letter was written by  Assatou Goudienkile, on behalf of the women from the village of Nounou, explaining how their participation in the literacy and women’s leadership programs has helped them become self-reliant. Continue reading “‘We see clearly, we hear, we walk’”

Checking in on the Olouguelemo Association’s tree nurseries

Tree nursery managers with their seedlings.

In the rural Malian township of Wadouba, members of the Olouguelemo Association take care of tree nurseries that they established to combat the effects of deforestation and desertification. These nurseries allow them to produce new trees to be planted both in their protected forest areas and in farmers fields. Not only do the new trees benefit the environment, but they also provide fruit to the local communities. The Tandana Foundation assists the village-run association in caring for their nurseries through providing training and other resources. Below, two Olouguelemo members each describe the goals, productivity, and associated benefits of the tree nurseries they oversee. Continue reading “Checking in on the Olouguelemo Association’s tree nurseries”

Advocating for gender equality in local elections

During a series of workshops on women’s leadership sponsored by The Tandana Foundation and made possible through support from Dining for Women, participants learned how to form and lead women’s associations and also shared their experiences in leadership. In rural regions of Mali, women are rarely well represented in township councils. To encourage more women to seek these community leadership positions, Oumou Kansaye used examples from her experience in politics to inspire other women during one of the workshops. In the following, Oumou Kansaye tells her story, including desribing a speech where she argued for the equal treatment of female leaders from rural communities. Continue reading “Advocating for gender equality in local elections”

Meet Tandana’s Savings for Change Trainer

The following is the story of Tandana’s  Savings For Change (SFC) trainer Moussa Tembiné. The SFC program is a savings and credit program for women that the Tandana Foundation has helped establish in many communities in Mali. Through this program, women are able to pool their savings and take out loans to assist them in starting or expanding micro-businesses.

Continue reading “Meet Tandana’s Savings for Change Trainer”

A woman leading by example to inspire others

 

The following is a letter written by Kessia Kouriba, a teacher in the women’s literacy program sponsored by the Tandana Foundation with support from Dining for Women in partnership with the Alpha Formation Traduction et Conception Documentaire au Pays Dogon (AFTCD/PD), a technical linguistic service in Bandiagara, Mali.  Kessia highlights the importance of women taking leadership roles and overcoming traditional gender barriers, just as she has done.

Hello members and supporters of the Tandana Foundation, Continue reading “A woman leading by example to inspire others”

Joining together to keep a special teacher in rural Mali

Elé is from the village of Dianweli, about 7 km from Yarou-Plateau. He attended secondary school in Bourgouma, 3 km from his village. He is certified with a technician’s diploma (BT) from the professional school of Kayes in western Mali.

Elé composed the following passage about his experience as a subidized teacher and how the Tandana Foundation teamed with the local residents to ensure he was able to receive payment for his work and stay teaching in rural Yarou-Plateau. Continue reading “Joining together to keep a special teacher in rural Mali”

Teaching literacy to empower women in Mali

Tembel Bamia, President of the women of Assa

Being able to read words and understand numbers help women in Mali shop at the market independently and succeed in their work. The Tandana Foundation has partnered with members of 30 villages to establish literacy and numeracy classes – thanks to support from Dining for Women – that teach women to read, recognize numbers and count, improving their abilities to support their families. Below are comments from two women whose lives have changed through their participation in these classes. Continue reading “Teaching literacy to empower women in Mali”

Inside successful community environmental protection in Wadouba, Mali

To address the challenges of deforestation and desertification, 15 villages in the Wadouba Township of Mali have come together to discuss and make decisions about protecting the environment. The Tandana Foundation supports the locally-run Olouguelemo environmental protection association. The following are thoughts from two association members on how their work has benefited the community.
Continue reading “Inside successful community environmental protection in Wadouba, Mali”

Villagers praise new well in Ologuiné, Mali

IMG_3823

Hama Guindo, ancien secrétaire général de la jeunesse de Ologuiné: aujourd’hui, si vous me demandez de parler mon impression de ce puits, je ne vais pas finir maintenant. Avant la population d’Ologuiné vivais d’eau de rivières ou dans les marres qui se trouvent dans le jardin de maraichage, les animaux du village de Ologuiné, Orsongho, Kani Gogouna et Gagnaga tous venaient boire dans ses rivières et aussi c’est un lieu où les femmes font leur lessive. Continue reading “Villagers praise new well in Ologuiné, Mali”

Olouguelemo Association Committee Members Reflect on its Environmental Initiatives

Olouguelemo committee members

The Olouguelemo Environmental Association, with which Tandana has partnered since its inception, is made up of 15 member villages in Mali. Each member village selects committee members, who represent their village at meetings of the whole association. Continue reading “Olouguelemo Association Committee Members Reflect on its Environmental Initiatives”

Respect and Responsibility Bring About Positive Change

A volunteer connecting with a villager in Mali

In May 2017, The Tandana Foundation held a fundraising event. Tandana’s Founding Director, Anna Taft, spoke at the event. Below is the text of her speech. Continue reading “Respect and Responsibility Bring About Positive Change”