Hear from the first Dr. Ash B. Varma, M.D. Scholarship students in Mali

The Tandana Foundation recently welcomed 18 motivated and inspiring students into its first cohort of students in the Dr. Ash B. Varma, M.D. Scholarship Program in Mali. Made possible by a generous gift from Dr. Ash B. Varma, M.D., the new scholarship program helps students from rural Mali learn professions that are very needed in the rural communities, such as healthcare and agrofrestry.

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Flourishing results: Updates on the Olouguelemo Association’s environmental work in Mali

As the village-run Olouguelemo Association’s environmental protection efforts continue, the positive effects of their work thus far are becoming more apparent across the Wadouba Township in Mali. From the restored forests in the protected areas to stone contour lines successfully protecting against erosion and new ponds and wells increasing access to water, villagers are recognizing and appreciating the association’s projects, which are supported by The Tandana Foundation.

Below, read three updates on the impact and success of the Olouguelemo Association’s environmental work.

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Thanks to her education, Hawa is an example for other women in her village to follow

During the global celebration of The Tandana Foundation’s 15th anniversary, several inspiring individuals involved in the organization’s programs were invited to share their stories with the hundreds of virtual attendees in the audience. The following is the transcript of the speech given by Hawa Yalcouyé, coordinator of the new Dr. Ash B. Varma M.D. scholarship program in Mali.

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Tandana’s Founding Director facilitates enriching course on climate change in the Sahel for Whitman College students

For many years, The Tandana Foundation has witnessed the impact of climate change in the Bandiagara District of Mali: increased deforestation and desertification that contributes to food insecurity and the need for new water resources. As a result, the organization helped launch, and now supports the village-run Olouguelemo Environmental Association, which continues to grow (now 24 villages) and carries out many important and highly successful environmental conservation projects in the region.

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Paying-it-forward: Tandana Donors share what motivated them to contribute to the Sal Health Center’s equipment costs

Mike and Gail Lavey always recognized the importance of having access to healthcare, but it was not until Mike nearly died in a car accident after being hit by a drunk driver that the issue really came into the forefront of their minds.

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A small needle that sews great fabrics: the success of the women indigo dyers of Sol Djeninke

Indigo dyeing is a major source of income for women in rural Mali. The Tandana Foundation has helped several villages create indigo banks to manage a revolving fund for the materials they use, similar to the cotton banks the organization has supported in other villages. The newest indigo bank is in Sol Djeninke. When it started, the leadership committee of the Sol Djeninke indigo bank participated in a workshop to learn how to manage their bank and also how to dye safely using both natural and chemical dyes. Tandana also provided the women with their equipment and supplies to get the new indigo bank up and running.  Recently they held their first annual meeting to reimburse the cost of the materials they used and evaluate the first campaign.   

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Celebrating 15 Years of Intercultural Friendship: Happy Birthday, Tandana!

In recognition of The Tandana Foundation’s 15th anniversary, we are creating 15 videos featuring cherished members of the organization’s global family. Published in a series of 15 posts on this blog, these videos will highlight key aspects of Tandana’s philosophy, community partnerships, and impactful work that has been done, along with projects still in progress. The videos will serve as a meaningful way to reflect back on what has been accomplished in 15 years as well as provide insight into the Tandana’s future in the next 15 years. 

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Construction complete: Sal Health Center to provide needed medical care to thousands of people in Mali

Approximately 9,000 residents in and around the Sal Sector of Wadouba Township in Mali will soon have access to local basic health care services thanks to the construction of a new health center. The construction of the Sal Health Center represents the largest building project that The Tandana Foundation has supported in the Bandiagara District of Mali, and the need for the center was clear.

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Visual evidence of the impact of the Olouguelemo Environmental Association’s work

The Olouguelemo Environmental Association has grown to include 24 villages in Wadouba Township who work together on many initiatives to protect the environment and promote food security. One of their important efforts involves teaching how to use stone contour lines to prevent soil erosion and check runoff so that water soaks into the soil. They have built more than 10,000 meters worth of erosion control features. During the current rainy season, the effects of these contour lines are visually clear.

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The significance and success of the Saredina school garden

Thanks to a grant from the All People Be Happy Foundation, The Tandana Foundation was able to support the elementary school in Saredina in creating a school garden in 2020. The school garden provides many benefits: the garden allows students to earn an income that they can use to purchase school and first aid supplies; enriches students’ educational experience and nutrition; and builds market gardening and project management capacities among students and teachers. In addition, the garden will also improve access to education for students from rural communities.

Below, hear from staff and students from Saredina Elementary School and community members about how the school garden is positively impacting learning and working experiences and the village as a whole.

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Creating a better educational experience in Mali

Last year, furniture built by participants in the Kansongo carpenters workshop – a program supported by The Tandana Foundation – was delivered to the school in Andjine, Mali, via moto-tricycle. The special delivery was made possible thanks to the Bellbrook United Methodist Church, which helped fund both the tricycle and the furniture. Below, one Andjine villager talks about how important it was to find assistance acquiring the furniture.

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Celebrating 15 Years of Intercultural Friendship: Environmental Programs

In recognition of The Tandana Foundation’s 15th anniversary, we are creating 15 videos featuring cherished members of the organization’s global family. Published in a series of 15 posts on this blog, these videos will highlight key aspects of Tandana’s philosophy, community partnerships, and impactful work that has been done, along with projects still in progress. The videos will serve as a meaningful way to reflect back on what has been accomplished in 15 years as well as provide insight into the Tandana’s future in the next 15 years. 

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Celebrating 15 Years of Intercultural Friendship: Confronting COVID-19

In recognition of The Tandana Foundation’s 15th anniversary, we are creating 15 videos featuring cherished members of the organization’s global family. Published in a series of 15 posts on this blog, these videos will highlight key aspects of Tandana’s philosophy, community partnerships, and impactful work that has been done, along with projects still in progress. The videos will serve as a meaningful way to reflect back on what has been accomplished in 15 years as well as provide insight into the Tandana’s future in the next 15 years. 

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Changing minds and transforming lives through the Savings for Change, literacy, and leadership programs

Thousands of women have participated in the Savings for Change, literacy, and leadership programs, which are organized by The Tandana Foundation in partnership with villages across Bandiagara District, Mali. Whether it is contributing to savings funds, learning how to read and write, or exploring how to be a female leader, not everyone in the villages has immediately recognized the importance of having these programs available to women. Below, three women provide commentary on how the success of the participants is changing the way people think about the programs.

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Celebrating 15 Years of Intercultural Friendship: Water

In recognition of The Tandana Foundation’s 15th anniversary, we are creating 15 videos featuring cherished members of the organization’s global family. Published in a series of 15 posts on this blog, these videos will highlight key aspects of Tandana’s philosophy, community partnerships, and impactful work that has been done, along with projects still in progress. The videos will serve as a meaningful way to reflect back on what has been accomplished in 15 years as well as provide insight into the Tandana’s future in the next 15 years. 

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Three perspectives on the Olouguelemo Association’s recent projects

Members of the 24 villages where the Olouguelemo Association operates in Mali are recognizing the successful work being done by the association. With support and guidance from The Tandana Foundation, the village-run organization continues to make progress on its environmental conservation projects, including reforestation, erosion control, and forest protection. The following post contains three commentaries from village residents about these efforts.

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Celebrating 15 Years of Intercultural Friendship: The Opportunity of Education

In recognition of The Tandana Foundation’s 15th anniversary, we are creating 15 videos featuring cherished members of the organization’s global family. Published in a series of 15 posts on this blog, these videos will highlight key aspects of Tandana’s philosophy, community partnerships, and impactful work that has been done, along with projects still in progress. The videos will serve as a meaningful way to reflect back on what has been accomplished in 15 years as well as provide insight into the Tandana’s future in the next 15 years. 

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Dogon dancing: an unforgettable experience

On April 10, The Tandana Foundation will be hosting a virtual venture exploring Dogon dancing and drumming in the Bandiagara district of Mali. Carol Peddie, Kelly McCosh, and Marilyn and Jack Krueger had the chance to experience the warm embrace of Dogon culture firsthand during Tandana’s 2012 trip to visit the villages of Kansongo and Sal-Dimi in Mali. Here we share remembrances of that trip from both our volunteers and local residents Moussa Tembiné of Kansongo, Housseyni Pamateck of Sal-Dimi, and Ada Kanambaye of Sal-Dimi.

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Overcoming traditional barriers – and a pandemic – to gain literacy, numeracy, and leadership skills

In 2020, 225 out of 294 women earned passing scores on their final exams in the literacy courses organized by The Tandana Foundation in Mali. At 76.5%, this number is slightly lower than the original goal of 80%, but it is still quite impressive considering that the women missed two months of classes due to the pandemic. Despite the challenges of the last year, both the students and teachers rallied to make the classes as successful as possible. In addition, 80 of the best students are now participating in women’s leadership workshops in 2021.

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Celebrating 15 Years of Intercultural Friendship: Climbing Together

In recognition of The Tandana Foundation’s 15th anniversary, we are creating 15 videos featuring cherished members of the organization’s global family. Published in a series of 15 posts on this blog, these videos will highlight key aspects of Tandana’s philosophy, community partnerships, and impactful work that has been done, along with projects still in progress. The videos will serve as a meaningful way to reflect back on what has been accomplished in 15 years as well as provide insight into the Tandana’s future in the next 15 years. 

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Moussa’s trip to the United States of America: Part 2

Last fall, two members of The Tandana Foundation’s team in Mali – Moussa Tembine and Housseyni Pamateck – visited the United States on a multifaceted, cross-country trip. While in the U.S., they co-taught a college class, met with Tandana and local community stakeholders, and attended several of the organization’s events. Along the way, they shared the work in Mali as well as the country’s culture. This is part two of Moussa’s story about their trip and what he learned from his time in the United States.

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The early success of the women’s enterprises in Mali

In 2019, The Tandana Foundation funded six women’s associations’ business proposals in the Bandiagara District of Mali. These women’s enterprises are now starting income-generating activities, including making nutritional seasoning balls out of néré seeds, raising sheep, transforming cotton into cloth and indigo dyeing. Below four women talk about the progress they have made with their income-generating activities.

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Five thoughts on the Olouguelemo Association’s recent efforts

All the villages that are members of the Olouguelemo Association continue to reap the benefits of the association’s work. Recent projects have targeted reforestation, erosion control, and increasing water access. Below five residents from several villages around the Bandiagara District of Mali share their thoughts on Olouguelemo’s most recent endeavors.

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A shared philosophy of mutual support and learning

All program coordinators dedicated to social justice and civic engagement are faced with the challenges of community engagement and community building due to the pandemic’s social distancing requirements. How do you connect with others and make substantive change in your community without being able to interact with others or physically enter into a community? My response: we must expand our definition of community.

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Bringing global perspectives and multiple forms of knowledge to higher education

Thanks to sponsorship by the O’Donnell Visiting Educator Program and the Center for Global Studies at Whitman College, Associate Professor of Biology Leena Knight and Founding Director of The Tandana Foundation, Anna Taft (Whitman ‘02), organized a course titled Health in Ecuador and Mali: Pandemic, Race, Culture that took place remotely this fall for Whitman College students.

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Moussa’s trip to the United States of America: Part 1

Last fall, two members of The Tandana Foundation’s team in Mali – Moussa Tembine and Housseyni Pamateck – visited the United States on a multifaceted, cross-country trip. While in the U.S., they co-taught a college class, met with Tandana and local community stakeholders, and attended several of the organization’s events. Along the way, they shared the work in Mali as well as the country’s culture. This is part one of Moussa’s story about their trip and what he learned from his time in the United States.

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An award-winning field through use of the Olouguèlemo Association’s erosion control tactics

The village-run Olouguèlemo Association continues to train villages around the township of Wadouba in Mali on best practices to prevent erosion. In the following, one of the many individuals to receive this training credits his recent recognition for “best field with the most number of trees” in Wadouba to the erosion prevention practices taught by the association. Continue reading “An award-winning field through use of the Olouguèlemo Association’s erosion control tactics”

Tandana helps provide emergency COVID-19 support in Ningari

This summer, several communities that The Tandana Foundation partners with in Segue-Iré, Mali approached the organization for emergency support related to mitigating the spread of COVID-19, after numerous deaths and several positive cases were confirmed. The following is a report written about how Tandana and the communities worked together to successfully respond to the situation. Continue reading “Tandana helps provide emergency COVID-19 support in Ningari”

The impact of Tandana’s COVID-19 response in Mali

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, The Tandana Foundation has been supporting our community partners in Mali through conducting education about prevention measures, assembling and distributing hand-washing stations, and providing supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) to a hospital and local health centers. Members of the Tandana team have also recorded a radio broadcast with public health information that has aired across the Bandiagara District. Below three community leaders share the impact of this work and express their gratitude for the foundation’s support. Continue reading “The impact of Tandana’s COVID-19 response in Mali”

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”