Three thoughts related to Tandana’s women’s programs in Mali

In rural Malian villages, women are thriving after participating in the literacy, numeracy, leadership and enterprise programs organized by The Tandana Foundation. Through this training, they have been able to improve their ability to support their families, take on leadership roles in their communities, and be role models for their own daughters.

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A night to remember with a lasting impact

An engaging program, enthusiastic attendees, and a special guest all helped make The Tandana Foundation’s annual fundraising event a memorable success this year. Thanks to proceeds raised from the event and online auction, Tandana will be able to support thousands more women in rural Mali and Ecuador as they rise and exercise leadership in their communities.

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My Kichwa culture through the generations

The Kichwa community of El Panecillo is located 20 minutes from the city of Otavalo and has been inhabited mainly by indigenous people. I was born here more than 30 years ago. It is my favorite place because I have many memories here from childhood.

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A few inspiring thoughts from participants of Tandana’s women’s programs in Mali

Never underestimate the impact of being able to do something you could not before.

Through literacy and numeracy classes, leadership workshops, support in registering women’s associations, and startup funding for income-generating enterprises, the programs organized by The Tandana Foundation in rural Mali are supporting women in learning to read, write, calculate, work together in associations, and generate income. These skills increase their confidence, independence, success in economic activities, and recognition as agents of local decision-making.

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Tandana Foundation seeks to help more women rise through celebratory event in Cincinnati this October

Providing girls access to higher education in Ecuador and empowering women to read, recognize numbers, establish businesses, and be leaders in Mali are the goals of just a few women’s programs organized by The Tandana Foundation with its partner communities.

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Meet Tandana’s scholarship coordinator who herself experienced the challenges of pursuing education in Mali

Staying in school and obtaining a professional career is not easy in Mali, and it’s even harder for girls. A combination of the country’s financial, political, and food instability as well as gender inequalities have caused enrollment and literacy rates to be among the lowest in the world.  

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Profound changes through women’s literacy and leadership programs

Participants of the women’s literacy, leadership, and enterprise programs – organized by The Tandana Foundation in the Tommoguiné region of Mali – recently shared the benefits they have experienced and witnessed through these programs. Thousands of women are gaining power in their lives, in the market, and in their communities.

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Women gaining power in their lives, in the market, and in their communities

There is a newfound confidence among many women across the Tommoguiné region of Mali. They are calling out cheaters in the markets, joining together to form income-generating associations, and not only attending township hall meetings, but becoming leaders in their villages.

These abilities are thanks to their own determination and ambition, bolstered by their participation in the women’s literacy, leadership, and enterprise programs organized by The Tandana Foundation in the region. Below, five women participants share the benefits they have experienced and witnessed through these programs.

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What has changed the lives of these women in Mali?

There have now been 2,700 participants in the women’s literacy and numeracy classes and 550 participants in the women’s leadership workshops that were launched by The Tandana Foundation in partnership with communities in rural Mali. In addition, Tandana also helps support 60 women’s associations that have been started in the villages.

Below, three women discuss the impactful benefits of these efforts on both the women who have participated in them and the whole community.

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Members of the Tandana community discuss desires and goals for next year

As the calendar turns to 2023, so do thoughts on what the new year will bring. There are certainly many projects in process or on the horizon for The Tandana Foundation and its community partners in Ecuador and Mali. 

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Members of the Tandana community reflect on a meaningful year

From providing access to clean water in Ecuador to building a new health center in Mali, The Tandana Foundation and its partner communities have accomplished a lot together in 2022. 

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‘The women of the Sal Sector welcome with great joy the arrival of the Sal Health Center’

The new Sal Health Center in Mali is now providing women with access to prenatal and maternity care as well as routine and other necessary procedures, including recently starting free vaccination clinics for children and infants. Safe and reliable access to these services was long-desired by the Sal Sector’s residents before the center’s opening, as women used to travel long distances or rely on irregular visits by vaccination providers to receive such care. It was also one of the major motivations behind a great effort undertaken by The Tandana Foundation with the sector’s five villages to construct the center.

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When you support a woman to be a teacher, you support much more

The school in Andjine, Mali has three teachers assigned by the government, but the number of students in first through sixth grades at the school keeps growing. Salimata Karembe, who is from Andjine and trained as a teacher, began volunteering to help the school. Now, she is contracted as a local teacher for the third and fourth grades. The Tandana Foundation covers half of Salimata’s salary, while the parents pay the other half, so that she can continue at the school. Salimata also participated in Tandana’s women’s literacy and leadership programs and is a great role model for the students.

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The revitalization of an important cultural practice in Mali

Indigo dyeing is proving to be a profitable way for women to earn money across the Wadouba Township of Mali, with many dyers in the new women’s associations supported by The Tandana Foundation becoming successful businesswomen. The resurgence of indigo dyeing in the region has led to the revitalization of another culturally significant activity that had fallen out of favor with the younger generation. Hear from one woman about the outcome below.

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In Mali, women are thriving as community leaders and entrepreneurs after participating in important Tandana-supported programs

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.

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A new grain bank promises to supply millet between the harvests in Nounou

In many villages across the Bandiagara Township of Mali, it has become impossible to harvest enough millet to last through the year. During the difficult rainy season, many families have run out of their own harvest, just when they need the most calories for hard work cultivating the next crop. Village residents have to travel long distances to purchase grain at exorbitant prices. To overcome these difficulties, the Nounou community has long-desired a grain bank, and they recently partnered with The Tandana Foundation to open one. Below, hear about the need and benefit of the new grain bank from Dene Tapily, who is a member of its leadership committee.

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Hear about the ‘perfect harmony’ and success from the Komberou women’s association

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.

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Disrupting injustice through Tandana’s women’s literacy classes in Mali

The positive results of the literacy, numeracy, and women’s leadership courses supported by the Tandana Foundation continue to spread across the Bandiagara District of Mali as more and more women participate in the programming. Below, hear from one participant about the benefits she has experienced and how her knowledge allowed her to stop an injustice.

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Good news on the indigo dyeing business in Goundoly Djeninke

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.

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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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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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Ninari Chimba: activist and role model

Through its partnerships with communities in Ecuador and Mali, The Tandana Foundation has learned about many inspiring individuals who are also working to make a positive difference in the places they live. The following blog post tells the story of one of those individuals: Ninari Chimba, an activist for the advancement of LGBT rights and environmental protection.

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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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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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Reflections from women members of the Savings For Change program in Mali

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.

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Two personal stories illustrate the value of community

By committing to create and nurture intercultural relationships, Tandana recognizes the value of community as a major driving factor of our work.

In Ecuador, the stories of two members of Tandana’s staff exemplify the way in which experiencing community -whether new or familiar- provides an incomparable opportunity for growth. Continue reading “Two personal stories illustrate the value of community”

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”

Quichinche Hopers: Women Lawyers and Justice in Northern Ecuador

Hope Taft, former first lady of the State of Ohio and now President of The Tandana Foundation, believes in the possibility of changing society and people’s lives for the better. Her letterhead prominently features the phrase “Ohio Hoper.” Gladys Perugachi, an indigenous woman in the Kichwa-speaking region of Ecuador, is a kindred spirit, committed to a more just society, which in that country has been very slowly becoming a hard-fought reality. Continue reading “Quichinche Hopers: Women Lawyers and Justice in Northern Ecuador”

Recent updates from the women’s enterprises in Mali

Last year, 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 two women talk about their income-generating activities. Continue reading “Recent updates from the women’s enterprises in Mali”

Becoming more respected, secure, and in harmony through the Savings For Change program

The women who participate in the Savings for Change program in Mali continue to experience the positive impacts of their work and their collaboration with each other. Through the program, which is supported by The Tandana Foundation, the women have been able to save money, repay their loans, and manage the costs of running their businesses. Below, two women share how the SFC program has benefited their income-generating activities as well as their villages. Continue reading “Becoming more respected, secure, and in harmony through the Savings For Change program”

Hundreds more women successfully complete literacy, numeracy program in Mali

Of the 290 women who took the test, more than 90 percent of participants earned satisfactory scores or better on the final evaluations in the literacy and numeracy classes organized by The Tandana Foundation as part of its Women’s Literacy, Leadership, and Enterprise program in Mali. These results exceeded expectations for the most recent cohort of women in the program. Continue reading “Hundreds more women successfully complete literacy, numeracy program in Mali”

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”

Two different perspectives on the far-reaching benefits of teaching literacy, numeracy

A primary goal of the literacy and numeracy classes organized by The Tandana Foundation for women in rural Mali is to teach women how to read, write, and do calculations. However, the benefits of these classes go far beyond the women learning these skills. By teaching literacy and numeracy, the instructors also gain skills and an opportunity to work in their own region.  Below, are two unique stories of how the classes have impacted people’s daily lives. Continue reading “Two different perspectives on the far-reaching benefits of teaching literacy, numeracy”

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”