Women across many villages in rural Mali have become powerful community leaders and successful businesswomen following the leadership and governance training in the workshops organized by The Tandana Foundation. While they learn skills to be community and business leaders, they are also increasing their confidence, independence, success in economic activities, and recognition as agents of local decision-making. Many of them have also joined the women’s associations supported by Tandana to conduct their income-generating activities.
Four inspiring participants of the leadership workshops share their personal stories below.
The Tandana Foundation has supported the creation of many women’s associations to support women with their income-generating activities throughout the Bandiagara District of Mali. Below, hear from one participant from Komberou about how successful their association has been compared to other associations that have been started in her village but lack the oversight and camaraderie found in the Tandana-organized groups.
With support from The Tandana Foundation, the women dyers from the village of Goundoly Djeninke in Mali continue to grow their business, selling dyed cloths and carrying on an important part of their tradition. In the following blog, hear two different perspectives on the benefits the indigo dyeing association has brought to the village.
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.
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.
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.
This year, there are 30 new Savings for Change groups that The Tandana Foundation has helped form in eight villages in the Bandiagara District of Mali. Most of the new groups have 22 members, one group has 27, and two groups have 30 with a total of 681 participants. So far, the groups have collectively saved $3,064.06. The 30 groups, involving 789 women, that started in 2019 held their fund-sharing ceremony after a year of saving. The total funds divided up were $12,269, with each member receiving between $10 and $11.
Below, three women who have joined SFC groups share their thoughts on the success of the saving and credit program in their townships.
Jose Sanchez is an indigenous farmer who grew up working in the fields of a newly formed commune and was optimistically helping organize the former share-croppers that had been liberated from huasipungo, ‘serfdom,’ in the 1960’s. He lives in Cotacachi, a town of 8,000 located a few miles from Otavalo, and with his wife maintains and manages (at a low salary) a beautiful guest house owned by an absentee landlord long resettled in Quito. His mother is still the owner of a small cornfield in the lands of the former hacienda, but it is not mechanized and doesn’t produce much crops or income. The net result of the ‘liberation’ of the sharecroppers is that they, as before the 1960’s, do all the work and yet remain quite poor. Continue reading “From hacienda to commune to cooperating farm families”
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’”
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”
In the rural communities of the Quichinche parish, getting access to medical care is not always easy. Residents often wait long amounts of time to receive support and assistance through Ecuador’s public health system. Twice each year, the Tandana Foundation‘sHealth Care Volunteer Venture teams and staff from the public health centers visit these rural communities to provide primary care to the local residents. Tandana’s Patient Follow Up Coordinator then works with the patients who are referred for additional care, advocating for them in the public health system. It is our goal that, through this process, patients learn how to use the system on their own. In the following videos and translations of their transcripts, three of these patients explain in their own words how the HCVV visits helped them receive needed medical support and more. Continue reading “Going beyond medical support”
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’”
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”
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.
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.