2016

EDUCATION ($5,829.67) 

16-ED-01     Zeala Literacy Center Construction ($3,239.98)

This year, African Sky completed its fourth school construction, the new Women’s Literacy Center in Zeala. In May 2016 Executive Director Scott Lacy visited the recently completed and furnished literacy center with project leader Yacouba Sangare and his local construction crew and hosts.   Yacouba reported that the new school in Zeala is his favorite build yet. He reported his team’s amazingly kind and tireless host family, as well as the unprecedented enthusiasm and sweat equity that the Zeala community contributed, were the primary reasons for the success of this project. Classes have already began, and Scott used the new Center to conduct some field tests of the newly translated medical guide, Where There is No Doctor. Check out our facebook page and website for photos of the completed Women’s Literacy Center. Our flagship women’s literacy program now has a home to call its own.

16-ED-02     Zeala Literacy Center Program ($1,518.69)

The Director of our women’s literacy program, Elizabeth Traore worked diligently with African Sky and her students to furnish and open the new literacy center. In addition to recruiting additional students and an additional teacher, the group furnished the center with new benches, a desk and chair for the teacher, textbooks, and student materials (pens, pencils, notebooks, chalkboards, etc.). In addition to another successful year of classes serving approximately 40 students on any given day, African Sky collaborated with the students and teachers to host their annual graduation party and celebration. One of the special surprises for the literacy center this year was the generous donation of two mountain bikes that the students and teachers can borrow to get to local markets where they can buy and sell the things they need to support themselves and their families.

Materials purchased this fiscal year ($417.17):

  • 5 Benches (including transport)
  • Pens (30)
  • Pencils (30)
  • Notebooks (47)
  • Small chalkboards (20)
  • Teacher Desk & Chair (including transport)
  • Literacy books (27)
  • Bicycles to share/loan to members (2)

Other Expenses

  • Teacher Stipends, $630.50
  • Graduation Celebration and Feast, $471.02

16-ED-03     Adult Literacy, Giving Tree ($375.00)

In addition to our Women’s Literacy Center and program in Zeala, African Sky also promotes adult literacy in Dissan. The purpose of both programs is to provide adults of all ages who never had the opportunity to attend school the opportunity to learn basic writing, reading, and math. This year, thanks to some generous donors to our Giving Tree program, African Sky was able to provide $375 to local literacy teachers Issa Sangare and Yaya Samake of Dissan. They used the donated funds to purchase materials for all their students, and they each received a $100 stipend to organize and lead their 2-month class.

16-ED-04     Markala Education Project ($616.00)

Under the leadership of Education Director Eliza Swedenborg and Mali Program Specialist Tamba Traore, African Sky developed a comprehensive education project to serve students and teachers from the high school (lycee) in Markala. The dynamic project duo organized four major initiatives over the past fiscal year.

  • Teachers’ Digital Skills Workshop & Training Session – During the New Year’s school vacation, Tamba and Eliza organized and hosted a special digital skills and computer training workshop for teachers from Markala’s high school. Specifically, the training program provides teachers with instruction for effectively using and teaching Information Communication Technologies (ICT) such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and e-mail. Twenty-six teachers participated in this workshop, and Eliza attended the final session virtually and delivered an encouraging speech to the trainers and teachers. Now these teachers are passing on new skills to their students.
  • Markala Pen Pal Exchange – Through a course of electronic letter exchanges facilitated by Tamba and our US partners, African Sky built “pen friend” relationships between high school students studying English in Mali, and US college students studying anthropology in the US. The exchanges discussed everything from families, school subjects, language differences, holidays, popular music, marriage, and so much more. With no cost to African Sky’s project budget, the pen pal exchange is a great and cost-effective way to build friendships between young people in the US and Mali.
  • Student “Career Day” Fieldtrip – Coordinated and led by Tamba, his high school students boarded mini-buses in Markala and headed to the closest regional capital city, Segou, for a special career day activity. In Segou the students we received by CERTIFEX, one of the region’s largest employers. Students learned about professional opportunities and responsibilities at CERTIFEX, and they learned how to match their unique interests and skill sets to initiate a rewarding job search and career path after graduation.
  • Markala Lycee Climate Change Earth Day Summit (and Tree Planting) – For Earth Day 2016, African Sky’s Tamba Traore and Eliza Swedenborg organized an engaging summit that transformed Markala high school students into teachers on environmental studies. Students prepared skits, speeches, and other presentations for a large audience that included local and regional government officials. The proceedings included a student-led campaign to plant dozens of trees in Markala.

16-ED-05     Books for Dissan Primary School ($80.00)

With funds donated through our annual Giving Tree program, African Sky purchased six books for teachers and students at Dissan Primary School. This year we provided three picture/story books for the first and second graders, and three world atlases (one each for grades 4, 5, and 6).

16-ED-06     US Schools

Since our first year as an organization, African Sky has presented 41 school visits for US schools. As one of the ways we serve US communities and build cross-cultural friendships between citizens of Mali and the US, we provide these programs at no cost to US schools. From elementary students to college classrooms, African Sky has visited US students in Ohio, California, Georgia, Florida, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and even Nova Scotia! This year we worked with students at Fairfield University (Connecticut) on a pen pal exchange with Malian high school students who are learning English. Representatives also visited Stow High School (Ohio), one of our most active school partners, to talk with students in the school’s unique international business program.

COMMUNITY HEALTH ($1,964.50) 

16-CH-01     Dokotoro Project Translation ($1,694.50)

Over the past few years, African Sky has served as the fiscal sponsor for the Dokotoro Project. This project, run by a dynamic team based in Northern California, has completed the challenging task of organizing the first Bamanakan translation of the seminal field medical book, Where There is No Doctor. This book is distributed to Peace Corps Volunteers the world over, and it is an indispensible resource for anyone living away from professional medical specialists. This year African Sky presented the Dokotoro Project with the remaining funds raised to complete not only the translations, but for the layout of the book. Watch in the coming year or on the Dokotoro website to see updates for when the team begins to distribute the book in Mali and anywhere else one may seek the Bamakankan version of Where There is No Doctor.

16-CH-02     Field Testing Dokotoro – Zeala ($0/no cost to African Sky)

In May, Executive Director Scott Lacy visited African Sky’s flagship women’s literacy program in Zeala, and he worked with the literacy students and teachers to conduct anthropological field testing of the Dokotoro translation project (see previous project description). The purpose of the testing was to get the book into the hands of its target audience and to determine if the translation and presentation within the book is effective and culturally salient from rural Malian perspectives. With some assistance from some former Peace Corps Mali specialists, the team led several exercises to learn more about how Malian women understand specific illnesses and their treatments. Additionally, the team recorded feedback from the test group to provide the Dokotoro translation team one final round of locally-generated advice on how to make the new translation of Where There is No Doctor all the more valuable as a community health resource.

16-CH-03       Mosquito Net Deliveries ($70.00)

Donors from this year’s Giving Tree program provided funds to purchase and distribute one dozen mosquito nets to nursing and pregnant mothers in some of our partner communities. Malaria is particularly dangerous to infants, and these nets help keep mothers and recently born children healthy.

16-CH-04       Medicine & Fruit Baskets for Nursing & Expecting Mothers ($200.00) 

Another great way that our donors help nursing and expecting mothers to keep themselves and their infants healthy is through strategic donations of special baskets (typically a plastic bucket) filled with fruit and basic medicines. This year, our Giving Tree donors provided $200, which funded the creation and delivery of 15 healthy medicine and fruit baskets. This year, the baskets were delivered in Dissan and in several periurban neighborhoods surrounding Bamako, Mali’s capital city.

FOOD SECURITY ($2,076.00)

16-FS-01      Giving Goats, Chickens, & Grain: Emergency Food Relief ($1,325)

Occasionally while our personnel are visiting our Malian host communities, we come across families and individuals who are experiencing extreme food and economic crises. When we discover a case that, with a rather minimal investment on our part, will radically change a family’s situation, we provide emergency food relief. While we do not provide emergency relief on a wide-scale basis, our long-term relationships in a number of Malian communities makes it possible for us to identify cases in which a little help can go a long way towards helping hard-working families get back on their feet. In May 2016, we delivered this year’s food security donations, most of which was raised through donations to our annual Giving Tree program. This year we donated $525 worth of goats, $300 worth of chickens, and $490 in grain.

16-FS-02        Kini Fe: Uniting Former Peace Corps Volunteers & Their Hosts ($761.00)

Returned Peace Corps volunteers Max Diaz and Lukas Baldrige joined African Sky this year to launch their idea of reconnecting former Peace Corps Mali volunteers with the communities that once hosted them. This fiscal year they completed their first delivery from former volunteers to Mali. After quickly raising over $700 from returned volunteers with whom Max and Lukas trained, the duo partnered with former Peace Corps teachers and employees to deliver special care packages and messages to a first batch of Peace Corps host families. The care packages included 50 kg of rice for each family, but they also included pictures and a personalized message from each donor volunteer to their specific host family. In return, the project crew on the ground made photos and recorded messages from the families to the volunteers. Watch this amazing project grow next year as Max and Lukas take their new project to new heights!

COMMUNITY ARTS  ($0.00/no direct costs)

16-CA-01     AS Podcast ($0/no direct costs)

This year, Community Arts Program Director Adam Klein began work to create the African Sky Podcast. With the first podcast expected to be released in 2017, Adam has interviewed a number of people to and started the arduous work of transforming hours and hours of interviews into compelling podcasts that will not only tap into the on the ground efforts of African Sky, but they will also connect people in the US and Mali through engaging discussions about history, culture, music, development, and so much more. Watch for the first podcast in 2017!

2015

EDUCATION ($26,721.00)

15-ED-01   Zeala Literacy Center Construction ($25,500)

 It is always a delight to travel to Zeala to spend some time with our partner Elizabeth Traore the director and teacher of the Zeala Women’s Literacy Center. Yacouba and Scott travelled to the site with our friend and partner Jeliba (Siaka) Kouyate. Jeliba is a great communicator who plays the traditional role of the griot (jeli) and interlocutor on our official visits to project sites. When Scott and Yacouba arrived in Zeala he facilitated their introductory remarks and discussion with the village chief, Elizabeth and dozens of others who crowded in to the outdoor meeting.

When they walked to the construction site of the new literacy center designed by Drew Jacoby and Geno Catalano, Yacouba and the local construction team gleamed with pride as they reported that this construction was their favorite build yet. Yacouba and his African Sky team reported their amazingly kind and tireless host family, as well as the unprecedented enthusiasm and sweat equity that the Zeala community contributed, as major reasons for the successful project. Upon arrival, Scott was taken by surprise at how great and big the new center was. As our photos on facebook show, they arrived to a completed school minus the roof, which has since been installed. In celebration of the center and the visit, the women drummed, sang, clapped, and danced in a circle for almost 30 minutes in the exhausting heat.

After the celebration, the team enjoyed a brief rest with tea and a terrific lunch. Then they shared stories from the construction and planned out the roof installation. Following the lunch and discussion, Scott, Yacouba, and Jeliba were treated to a teaching demonstration by Elizabeth and her students. Remarkably, Elizabeth’s more experienced students eagerly stepped up, time and time again, to help guide the class in some chalkboard exercises. With teenage girls seated beside mom’s with young babies tightly wrapped to their back, this remarkable group of students clapped for and encouraged their peers as they did their exercises on the large chalkboard. At the end of the demonstration, a half-dozen students stood up at the end and shared their thoughts about their participation in Elizabeth’s program. These women talked about the thrill of learning to write their names, and they routinely mentioned that teaching a woman in Zeala would teach a family in Zeala (because they “share” their lessons)

15-ED-02   Zeala Literacy Center Program ($1,221.00)

Our flagship literacy program directed and taught by Elizabeth Traore completed its third year of operations with over three dozen students of all ages. The Women’s Literacy Program in Zeala is pioneering our efforts to create a sustainable model for self-directed, women’s literacy programs that includes reading, writing, math, and entrepreneurial skills for students of all ages. Following the year’s classes, the women celebrate with a lively feast and they each receive some beautiful cloth from which they make skirts, dresses, shirts, and head wraps. This year was primed with positive energy and optimism because Elizabeth and her students have actively contributed to the construction of a stunning new Women’s Literacy Center, which is due to open for next year’s classes.

In 2012, Senyuman Coulibaly, one of the program’s star students could not even write her name or read the alphabet, but now she can read and write, and she helps other students to do the same. When we asked Senyuman why she goes to literacy classes sponsored by African Sky she explained that if you are educated you can bring yourself out of darkness. For more on the impact of this remarkable program, please visit the African Sky Facebook page.

COMMUNITY HEALTH ($11,623.85)

15-CH-01   Dokotoro Project Translation ($10,291.95)

The Dokotoro Project, led by Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Matt Herberger, is a monumental effort to translate a popular and comprehensive medical field guide that is used by decades of Peace Corps Volunteers the world over. The book provides specific advice and critical information on diagnosing and treating a wide range of medical conditions ranging from small issues like first aid and stomach aches to more serious issues including amputation, dangers during childbirth, meningitis and more. African Sky is proud to partner with the Dokotoro team to make this great resource available to a brand new population, namely Bamanankan speakers. African Sky is the fiscal sponsor of the translation project, providing financial contributions and managing all direct donations to the Dokotoro initiative.

15-CH-02   Ebola awareness and prevention event ($905.00)

N’Tossoma Diarra led three Ebola prevention and awareness workshops in Zeala. He led one for children, one for women, and one for men. The attendees learned about the disease including how to determine risks and symptoms that could lead to or further spread Ebola. They also learned about prevailing myths and inaccuracies about the disease and its transmission. Through activities, visual aids, and discussion, N’Tossoma led some terrific workshops. I did not attend the actual sessions in Zeala, but N’Tossoma and village leaders briefed me about the event.

The positive reactions of the host community along with the enthusiastic report from N’Tossoma reveal that this timely project was a smashing success. See some of N’Tossoma’s photos from the workshops and notice the attentive and engaged audiences; he is a gifted workshop leader, and we plan on working with him again. In fact, he proposed a special garden project with a women’s association in his mother’s village near Bamako. Associate Director Colleen Naughton and Fianancial Director Kevin Kwok deserve serious accolades for developing and managing this project. If you remember, it was this project that got African Sky and Colleen a specific reference in an op-ed written by Chelsea Clinton (following the Clinton Global Initiate University event in early 2015).

15-CH-03   Peace Corps Mini- Grants ($426.90)

While visiting Mali, Executive Director Scott Lacy talked with Peace Corps Crisis Response Volunteers to hear about their work. He also visited two volunteers at their project sites. First, he visited Matt Schinske and toured his African Sky funded community sanitation project. Matt and his host/project partner were so efficient that they extended their funds to build two additional sanitary latrines. Pictures of this visit are posted on our facebook account.

Scott also visited Bafaga near Bougouni, where he met a second Crisis Response Volunteer who was in the midst of a community meeting when the team surprised him with a brief visit and discussion about his work and host community.  African Sky provided a second grant to volunteer Janet Smith to support her school mural project.

15-CH-04   Ambulance Motorcycle Donation ($0/no cost to African Sky)

Inspired by their love to travel, but also their desire to do something beyond the usual, self-indulgent honeymoon, Juli and David Kramer participated in an adventurous and international race called the Budapest to Bamako Rally. But they reached out to African Sky with a wonderful idea and opportunity. In short, they purchased two new eRanger Ambulance Motorcycles for the race, and they asked African Sky to help find a Malian organization that could put one of their ambulance motorcycles to use once the couple reached Bamako. We immediately went to work and facilitated this unique donation with one of our partner organizations, COFESFA, who graciously received the donation and treated the Kramers to wonderful reception in Bamako. The eRanger Motorcycle Ambulance is valued at approximately $8,000 including delivery charges from the factory in South Africa. Please visit our website or our facebook page to see photos and read more about this uncommon honeymoon and gift.

15-CH-05   New Shoes for 1,130 Children ($/no cost to African Sky)

This year African Sky was delighted to partner with The Susie Reizod Foundation to deliver 1,130 pairs of shoes to children in five villages in Mali (Niamè, Niamè Komala and Gonsolo, Kiènieroba and Bancoumana). The Susie Reizoid Foundation provides new shoes to children in need all across the US and world. African Sky facilitated a joy-filled visit for Suzie Reizod Foundation leaders, including the local (Mali) purchase of over 1000 pairs of new shoes (valued at over $3000) as well as over $1000 in treats for the children who received the shoes (juice, cookies, etc.).

15-CH-06   Dokotoro Field- Testing ($0/no cost to African Sky)

On his 2015 visit to Mali, Executive Director Scott Lacy (at the request of the Dokotoro Translation Project—translation of the field medical guide called Where There is No Doctor) did preliminary field-testing of the Dokotoro manuscript with rural Malians using three of the translated chapters. He conducted small group interviews and simple verbal quizzes to elicit feedback from several categories of Malians: adult males, adult females, literate and non- literate people. The principle objective was to trial run some field- testing methods to assess the quality, readability, and cultural sensibilities that will be essential for this important book’s success in Mali. Results were positive, though they will not be made public because the data collection was a trial run.

15-CH-07   MedWish First Aid Supplies ($0/no cost to African Sky)

From time to time we receive medical supplies and donations for distribution in Mali. We’ve delivered everything from aspirin and bandages to wheel chairs and malaria treatment. MedWish donated a large box of bandages and medical tape which I divided into three and gave to community leaders in Zeala, Dissan, and Banconi Plateau. There are no clinics in these communities, but local specialists typically do first aid and even IVs for children and others. This donation is part of a long African Sky tradition of providing basic meds and first aid supplies to informal local pharmacies led by a project partner.

FOOD SECURITY ($986.18)

15-FS-01    Emergency Food Relief ($186.16)

Occasionally while our personnel are visiting our Malian host communities, we come across families and individuals who are experiencing extreme food and economic crises. When we discover a case that, with a rather minimal investment on our part, will radically change such a family’s situation, we provide emergency food relief. While we do not provide emergency relief on a widescale basis, our long-term relationships in a number of Malian communities makes it possible for us to identify cases in which a little help can go a long way towards helping a hard-working family get back on its feet. In May 2015, we provided emergency relief funds in Dissan, Mali at the request of community leaders.

15-FS-02    Dissan Cereal Bank ($800.00)

During his May 2015 visit to the village of Dissan, Executive Director discovered that due to various circumstances, Over a dozen village households were concerned about their grain supply in advance of the coming hungry season (the period just before new harvests are available for consumption). As we have done in the past, African Sky collaborated with several Dissan households who had ample grain surplus, and we initiated a emergency cereal bank. Our funds purchased local sorghum and maize reserves, which the village elders (council) will use at their disposal to discretely assist families experiencing hunger. Some families will have adequate funds to purchase some of the reserves at a subsidized rate, but others who are in severe economic and food crisis will receive grain at no cost. All funds generated by discounted grain sales will be maintained by the village elders to be used for community initiatives such as water pump maintenance.

15-FS-03    The Bemba Project ($0/no cost to African Sky)

Prior to the May 2015 visit, African Sky initiated a seed and knowledge exchange project between family farmers in southern Mali. Through our Food Security Program Director Lassine we recruited three new villages as well as Dissan and Zeala for participating in this project. Two of the new villages are near Sikasso and the other one is closer to Koutiala. In May, Executive Director Scott Lacy met with two African Sky leaders for this project, Burama and Yacouba Sangare. They

coordinated a plan for a inter-village seed exchange and trials. Our resolved goal was to facilitate farmer-to-farmer seed exchange between villages, to monitor and share practices, knowledge, and results to plant test plots in each partner community. Dissan provided approximately 3kg each of its local champion sorghum seed, Bemba (a product of a 2002 collaboration between Burama and I). In exchange each participating farmer will grow and report on their test plot of Bemba, and they provided a local champion seed to Dissan for Burama to test and monitor. We received sorghum and millet seed varieties from our project partners outside of Dissan.

The next step was meeting with participants and exchanging seed and methods/goals. Yacouba and Scott visited Zeala, and the three other non-Dissan partner communities (Kai, Weleni, and Palasso). Three farmers in Kai, Weleni, and Palasso will grow and report on their test plots of sorghum for the 2015 growing season. They gathered in Sikasso for a meeting, and participating farmers instantly started sharing advice and stories about planting and growing sorghum (already accomplishing a core objective to facilitate knowledge and seed exchange among family farmers). Pictures of this meeting are posted on our facebook page.

Farmers are now growing their test plots, and Yacouba is in regular contact with each community to report back on the growing season news and progress (planting dates, rainfall patterns, growth rate, troubles, etc.). At the end of the growing season, farmers agreed to meet for an informal farmers’ summit to discuss their test plots and to brainstorm ideas for expanding seed and knowledge exchange beyond the core 5 villages and test households from 2015.

Our hope for the long-term include: formalizing resources to facilitate the exchange of seed and knowledge between farmers; to create a collaborative seed bank system to promote promising crop and garden varieties in Mali; and to do collaborative research (on farmer seed networks, on correlations between increased food security and increases in community seed portfolios).

COMMUNITY ARTS ($0.00/no direct costs)

15-CA-01   EWB Cement Mixer ($0.00/no cost to AS)

Since Fall 2014, the UC Santa Barbara chapter of Engineers without Borders has been working on a project to help our school construction team. This is their third major collaboration with EWB- UCSB! After discussions with Yacouba and the EWB team (via emails and Skype), we all agreed on a cement and earth block material mixer to help our construction team. After building and testing several prototypes, the team came up with a final design, which they presented for course credit at UCSB. While in Mali, African Sky facilitated one last (and lengthy) discussion via telephone between our construction team and the EWB team. We also tracked down information, sources, and costs for all the pieces required to make the mixer they designed.

The design is terrific because it is a “tarp” mixer that is supported by a frame of locally sourced pipes. The manual mixer can help us in our non-electric partner communities, it is more efficient in terms of sparing human labor, it is easily transportable and repairable, it reduces material waste, it reduces the environmental and health impacts of mixing cement on the ground with shovels and hands.

Our facebook posts on this project show images of the team at work. They delivered the final revised design and report for us to assemble one in Mali for our next construction project. Yacouba and the construction team are excited to try it out. EWB-USA generously agreed to fund the cost of building our cement mixer when we start making blocks. I give a big round of thanks to the EWB-UCSB team and their faculty supervisor, Prof. David Bothman (who has been to Mali twice to do African Sky projects).

15-CA-02   American Greetings Shoes & Shirts ($0/no cost to African Sky) 

Founders Council member and Financial Advisory Committee member Ron Lacy coordinated a special donation from American Greetings. A recent retiree at the company, Lacy helped arrange a generous donation of new clothing, shirts, and textiles from Cleveland, Ohio to Mali. Many of the clothes featured children’s favorites like My Pretty Pony and Strawberry Shortcake; kids in Mali absolutely loved their new clothes. African Sky worked with local communities to invite mothers and small children to receive an item. Because the clothes were for rather small children we focused invitations on children under three, and as a result we were able to give a gift to every child and mother present. Some mothers received textiles, which they used to create new garments for themselves and their children.

All together we distributed a dozen large textiles, 78 pairs of shoes, 235 shirts, and 271 pants/shorts sets. We divided these donations between Zeala, Dissan, and a neighborhood in Banconi Plateau just outside central Bamako. Following the donation events, African Sky visited American Greetings in Cleveland to personally thank the people who made the donations possible. We provided them with some photographs of Malian children wearing their new clothes and shoes. During this visit, our friends at American Greetings took us to the warehouse and gave us yet another generous donation of wonderful textiles. The boxes of new textiles will be delivered during future African Sky trips to Mali.

15-CA-03   The Giving Doll, Part II ($0/no cost to African Sky)

In 2014 African Sky delivered dozens of lovingly hand-made dolls to young Malians, most of whom had never had a doll before. Because of luggage limitations, we were not able to deliver all the dolls we received from The Giving Doll group in Northeast Ohio. This year we delivered the remaining dolls through our Women’s Literacy Program in Zeala. We also delivered two additional dolls to two random mothers with young children in Bamako. African Sky is a proud partner of the Giving Doll Project, and we are grateful that they include us in the work they do for children all around the world.

2014

EDUCATION ($27,410.40) 

14-ED-01   10 School, 1000 Lives ($18,980.19)

 In FY 2014 we continued our construction work. We completed final work on our a new secondary school in Dissan (site of our very first primary school!), and we started work on a new school in Zeala that will become our first ever Women’s Literacy Center and School. We started off building only primary schools, but when students from our first primary school in Dissan completed sixth grade, they had to leave the village if they wanted to continue their education… and many did. This “brain drain” can have a rippling effect as some students who go away for advanced schooling never come back to live full time in the village. To address this issue, the Dissan elders and leaders worked with African Sky to construct a secondary school to serve not only DIssan youth, but to serve students in the surrounding villages. Now, we just expanded our school construction projects beyond primary and secondary schools, and we’ve begun work on our first women’s literacy school and center. Our strategy for building schools with rural communities grows with each new site, and we are finding ways to reach more and more students, traditional and otherwise.

14-ED-02   Adopt-a-Student – Giving Tree ($800.00)

This year, thanks to the generous donors at our Silent Auction, our Giving Tree program was able to provide $800 to support students who might otherwise be unable to pay for their primary school fees. Our adopt a student program also provides some essentials for the students’ families including 100kg of grain to help make up for potential labor losses due to the students attending classes rather than working daily for the household. This year we supported a total of 8 students, four girls and four boys.

14-ED-03   Adult Literacy ($2,659.16)

Our adult literacy program continues to support those who may not have had the opportunity to attend a school like the primary and secondary schools we have been building. While most of our focus goes to the remarkable women’s literacy program in Zeala, we also have more modest (yet great impact) programs for men and women in Dissan. We also partner with a women’s group in Markala to augment their literacy class budget. In all for a low cost, our donors and African Sky helped bring literacy courses to over 70 students from teens to elders.

14-ED-04   AS Kenya Scholarships ($4,200.00)

Through former students of our Executive Director, the African Sky family has continued to support promising students with college scholarships. This year, African Sky Kenya paid out $4,200 in college scholarships, all of which was raised by AS Kenya founders based in Atlanta. See our facebook page for reports on these students… and watch in the coming years to see the first college graduates emerge from this project!

14-ED-05   School Supplies and Support ($350.00)

Through donations given through our annual Giving Tree program at our Fall Silent Auction, African Sky raised $350 to purchase basic school supplies in Mali for teachers in our host communities. These funds go further than you might think. With input from teachers, we visit local merchants to purchase essentials like chalk, chalkboard paint, pens, notebooks, and other items to support the teachers and students working in the schools we helped build.

14-ED-06   US Schools ($421.05)

African Sky, through Eliza Swedeborg, and several other volunteers, has emboldened our US Schools program. With special thanks to our partners at Stow-Munroe Falls High School in Ohio, we are reinvigorating our efforts to connect students in the US & Mali. With a modest budget, we can facilitate electronic letter exchanges along with auxiliary events to enrich these cultural exchanges.

FOOD SECURITY ($3,612.37)

14-FS-01    Chickens & Goats – Giving Tree ($465.00)

One of our most popular items on our annual Giving Tree is the purchase of chickens and goats, which our Country Director Yacouba Sangare delivers to hard-working rural families who are facing food and/or financial crises. This year, our donors provide $90 worth of chickens, and $375 worth of goats.

 14-FS-02    Emergency Family Relief ($2,762.32)

When our personnel and volunteers visit our host communities in Mali, we are often presented with the opportunity to assist families who are experiencing extreme food crisis. As such, we work with local farmers and leaders to purchase grains within the community to then discretely deliver to families identified by village leaders. This fiscal year, we witnessed increased need, and purchased over 9 tons of grain for distribution in two communities (over two dozen families received support). Smaller families received 100-200 kg, while larger families received 400kg or more. Some years, due to rainfall and other circumstances, the need for this program is greater than others. Since the political and security crisis worsened in Mali in 2012, we have experienced a growing need for emergency relief. Our programs team will be looking for ways to work with communities to embolden local production in hopes of transferring more fiscal resources into programs that can help reduce household food crises in our partner communities. 

14-FS-03    Animal Husbandry Assistance ($421.05)

While visiting two host communities this year, Executive Director Scott Lacy heard from community leaders from Dissan (our original partner community) who expressed a major disease outbreak among the community’s chicken population. To help thwart further losses of this staple of local household economies, African Sky provided funds to help defray the cost of a veterinarian to visit the community on three occasions to administer medicines and provide technical counsel to help the community stabilize household chicken populations. 

COMMUNITY HEALTH ($8,971.43)

 14-CS-01   Dokotoro Project ($6,382.48)

African Sky is a partner of the Dokotoro Project. This project is translating and producing a critical community health resource—a book called Where There is No Doctor. Project translators are developing an updated version of this popular book into Bamanankan, a local language for the majority of people in southern Mali. The book has been used by millions of health workers, Peace Corps (worldwide), and others who did not or do not have access (geographical and/or financial) to professional healthcare. African supports the Dokotoro Project as a donor and fiscal sponsor of the project.

14-CS-02   Medical/Health Relief ($1,588.95)

When families in our partner communities fall into crisis due to a major health crisis, African Sky tries to provide urgent assistance. These funds have been used to purchase medicine, food, and to pay for hospital bills and transportation. A regular supporter of this annual project is our Giving Tree campaign, in which donors at our annual Silent Auction Event choose how their donations will be used in Mali. This year African Sky provided the following health resources to assist households experiencing an extreme health crisis

  • Annual donation of rural pharmacy supplies (aspirin, OTC meds, bandages, etc.)
  • Medicine & fruit baskets for nursing and expecting mothers
  • Two hospital/doctors visits (including r/t transportation)

14-CS-03   The Tamba Project ($1,000.00)

Tamba Traore is the Regional Director for African Sky in the Segou and Markala area in central Mali. Tamba is a remarkable community-oriented citizen. For decades he has helped neighbors and family with everything from prescriptions and school fees to food and shelter. After he graciously agreed to join the African Sky family, we established an annual “Tamba Project” which provides him with funds for community development and emergency household assistance in the Markala region. Due to the continued political and security crisis in Mali, it is more difficult for our US program team to physically reach Markala. As such, Tamba’s project funds have become an essential and flexible way to immediately support students in need of food or medicine, women’s literacy and social entrepreneurism, and more. Dozens of our volunteers and supporters have visited Markala and been hosted by Tamba. This project honors one of the kindest hosts and tireless leaders with whom we have the honor to work.

COMMUNITY ARTS ($4,787.28) 

14-CA-01   Small Enterprise Incubation ($2,304.12)

African Sky identified and invested in two creative, budding entrepreneurs who, during our present program year, initiated a small business idea that promises to bring food, money, and/or work opportunities in our partner communities. One entrepreneur in Dissan established a large scale poultry operation that is focused on egg production for sales in the regional local market (weekly) in Sido. The second project went to an industrious woman in Bamako who, with the help of her daughters, have set up a “table restaurant” where customers come 5-days a week to purchase bowls of rice and sauce, with options that vary daily including fried plantains, beans, and chicken.

14-CA-02   Community Arts/Musicians & Performers ($842.05)

Watara Mask Presevation: Artisans, musicians, and local hunters in Dissan (our original partner community) are reviving a traditional mask performance and celebration in their community. African Sky provided funds that helped this group purchase materials to recreate a special mask and costume for this celebration, but the funds were also used to repair and add to other masks and costumes used in community celebrations and performances.

Sarakaw: As a community partner with the village of Dissan for over a decade now, African Sky has worked with a number of remarkable elders who have supported our work and collaborations. They have helped African Sky make an impact not only in Dissan, but in the villages surrounding Dissan as well. Last year, we regrettably lost two elders who have been champions and mentors for our work in Mali. In line with local traditions, African Sky gave a saraka (offering) for each of these elders, Sekou Samake & Fatoumata Samake. The funds provided help the family and community provide for the hundreds of guests who come to pay their respects to the lives of those who passed. African Sky was grateful to be able to contribute to the celebrations of the lives of these two great souls and partners. Nearly every household in the community offers what they can to help, especially when a well-known and respected elder passes.

14-CA-03   Community Planning Micro-Summits ($433.68)

African Sky Executive Director Scott Lacy, along with Country Director Yacouba Sangare, visited four of our current partner communities in southern Mali to host meetings with village stake-holders. They invited male and female elders, representatives from male and female youth associations, teachers, and others to participate in discussions about community priorities and ideas for future collaborations with African Sky. Funds used for these meetings were used to purchase food, tea, and kola nuts for each meeting and participant.

14-CA-04   Little Eagles Soccer ($1,207.38)

Founded by a former US collegiate soccer player Rob Steller of Connecticut, Little Eagles operates in three communities. The Malian directors of this energetic youth soccer program organize tournaments and leagues in three communities. The program parallels youth soccer programs in the U.S.; coaches and leagues teach Little Eagles players much more than soccer, through soccer. Idrissa Samake led our league on the outer edges of Bamako (Mali’s capital city). Sekou Kante led our league in the Sangarebougou section of Bamako, and Issa Sangare led our league in the Kokele region near Bougouni, Mali.

2013

EDUCATION ($48,095.43)

13-ED-01   10 Schools, 1000 Lives ($40,068.74)

Our brilliant construction team completed the Soumabougou School! Despite political and military troubles, as well as countless other challenges, Yacouba and Oumar (our construction leaders) managed to complete construction on a remarkable three-classroom primary school. Students and teachers opened the school in September 2013. We are still working with local officials to secure additional support and resources for the Soumabougou School. The African Sky family and the community members from Soumabougou wish to extend a special thanks to Keeth Elementary School and the Winter Springs, Florida school district for their sponsorship of the Soumabougou School. Led by an inspirational music teacher, Matt Sanders, the Winter Springs students, teachers, and families were the first friends of African Sky to independently raise funds to sponsor a complete school.

In addition to the Soumabougou School, Yacouba and Oumar transported our brick press and construction equipment to the village of Dissan (near Bougouni, Mali) to make blocks for our next construction project! Prior to the end of the fiscal year, the team made the 9,000 blocks (one at a time) that we’ll need to build the Dissan Secondary School.

13-ED-02   Adopt-a-Student – Giving Tree ($840.00)

Each year, as part of our popular Giving Tree campaign, some of our donors choose to sponsor a student for one school year. The support includes money for clothing and all school materials. In addition, the funds provide grain (up to 200kg) to supplement family food supplies. Some children do not attend school because their parents need farm/household labor; the grain permits a poor family to send a child to school without compromising family food security. In 2012-13 African Sky supported 6 students (2 in the Markala region, 2 in the Kokele region, and 2 in the Koulikoro region). Our brilliant construction team completed the Soumabougou School!

13-ED-03   Adult Literacy ($1,259.27)

With partial support from our annual Giving Tree program, African Sky promotes adult literacy because in our host communities, not everyone gets to attend let alone finish primary school. This is especially the case for girls who begin daily household work at an early age. Taught by local residents trained as Bamakankan literacy and math teachers, our literacy classes have become a remarkably cost-efficient way to truly transform lives in rural Mali. This year African Sky supported literacy programs in three communities: Markala (women), Zeala (women), and Dissan (women and men).

13-ED-04   Kenya College Scholarships ($4,020.00)

African Sky Kenya is a community development project started by three Emory University graduates, Caleb Mooty, Ryan Badger, and Steve Feldman. First, through placement in a rural school in the East Seme district, volunteers engaged in community development process through teaching and with managing extra-curricular activities. Now, African Sky Kenya provides several college scholarships to promising students. This year they provided four scholarships to four students who are now about to enter their senior year.

13-ED-05   School Supplies & Support ($1,351.42)

Through our annual Giving Tree campaign and from private donations, African Sky provides modest school supplies and support to rural and peri-urban teachers and classrooms. This year we donated books; teachers’ supplies like pens, chalk, paints, and more; and we provided modest funds for routine school building and latrine maintenance in the Kokele area near Bougouni.

13-ED-06   English Lang scholarship ($556.00)

A special donor and long-term friend to African Sky donated funds to sponsor an English learning scholarship for one of African Sky’s core community leaders, Yacouba Sangare. Yacouba is learning basic English, little by little, to augment the many lessons he’s already learned from the dozens of U.S. friends who have visited him with African Sky in Mali.

FOOD SECURITY ($5,238.58)

13-FS-01    Goats & Chickens for Families – Giving Tree ($720.00)

Some of our Giving Tree donors choose to purchase goats and chickens to invest in hard-working farm families. In fiscal year 2012, our donors purchased 16 goats and 12 chickens for rural households who were experiencing food insecurity.

13-FS-02    Hungry Season Food Assistance ($3,502.64)

Between planting and harvesting their annual crops, some Malian households struggle through the “hungry” season. Prior to the annual harvest, household food supplies dwindle. Each year 10-20 families in Dissan (for example) completely deplete their grain supply. This hunger can be the result of a family emergency or health failure, pest or weed infestation, insufficient rainfall or poor rainfall distribution, and more. Hungry Season assistance provides food insecure families with a supply of grain to supplement the household until harvest. The hungry season food assistance project is funded by private donors including some who participate through the Giving Tree campaign.

 13-FS-03    Garden Booster Project ($697.21)

 Gardens provide families, women’s associations, entrepreneurs, and schools with valuable opportunities for economic growth and nutritional/health gains. This recurring project provides a modest booster grant for a gardener or gardening group. In 2013 this grant went to Sedu Sangare from the Dugu Tigila section of the village Dissan. Sedu, along with his brothers, wives, and elders purchased durable fencing to protect the garden they re-established in 2013. Their previous, lush garden was destroyed several years ago when migrating elephants trampled the garden and uprooted many of the banana trees. Elephant encounters are quite rare in this section of Mali (most sections of Mali for that matter), so Sedu’s young family is restoring the garden his father created.

 13-FS-04    Water Pump Repair Team ($318.73)

 Several years after the UC Santa Barbara chapter of Engineers Without Borders collaborated with a rural pump repair team, the project lives on. The team charged with maintaining the two water pumps in the village has improved access to quality drinking water, and they have improved the pump grounds to prevent standing water. This year, African Sky provided modest funds to help the team pay for basic materials that keep local water pumps pumping. Local communities call upon the team occasionally to deal with difficult pump breakdowns.

COMMUNITY HEALTH  ($16,438.11) 

13-CH-01   The Dokotoro Project ($14,419.02)

African Sky is a partner of the Dokotoro Project. This project is translating and producing a critical community health resource—a book called Where There is No Doctor. Project translators are developing an updated version of this popular book into Bamanankan, a local language for the majority of people in southern Mali. The book has been used by millions of health workers, Peace Corps (worldwide), and others who did not or do not have access (geographical and/or financial) to professional health care. African supports the Dokotoro Project as a donor and fiscal sponsor of the project.

13-CH-02   Household Health Relief ($2,019.09)

When families in our partner communities fall into crisis due to a major health crisis, African Sky tries to provide urgent assistance. These funds have been used to purchase medicine, food, and to pay for hospital bills and transportation. A regular supporter of this annual project is our Giving Tree campaign, in which donors at our annual Silent Auction Event choose how their donations will be used in Mali. This year African Sky provided the following health resources to assist households experiencing an extreme health crisis:

  • Rural pharmacy supplies – annual donation (aspirin, OTC meds, etc.)
  • Three hospital/doctors visits
  • Urgent transport of a critically ill elder female (rural village to Mali’s capital city hospital)
  • Bed net distribution (pregnant and nursing mothers and elders)
  • Medicine and fruit “baskets” for expecting and nursing mothers

COMMUNITY ARTS ($8,826.63)

13-CA-01   Little Eagles Youth Soccer ($898.89)

 Founded by a former US collegiate soccer player Rob Steller of Connecticut, Little Eagles has spread to three communities. The Malian directors of this energetic youth soccer program organize tournaments and leagues in three communities. The program parallels youth soccer programs in the U.S.; coaches and leagues teach Little Eagles players much more than soccer, through soccer. This year, Idrissa Samake led our league on the outer edges of Bamako (Mali’s capital city). Sekou Kante led our league in the Sangarebougou section of Bamako, and Issa Sangare led our league in the Kokele region near Bougouni, Mali. For less than $900, hundreds of children and dozens of neighborhoods have embraced Little Eagles soccer. 

13-CA-02   Peace Corps Mini-Grant ($666.00)

Peace Corps volunteers and their Malian partners have a rich history of compelling and innovative ways to engage communities and transform lives. This year we provided sustaining funds for a continuing Peace Corps collaboration in social entrepreneurism and vocational training. Due to instability and military insecurity, Peace Corps evacuated volunteers in 2012. African Sky remains committed to previous Peace Corps project partners who have low-cost, high-impact solutions for critical community development challenges.

13-CA-03   Tamba’s Markala Project ($1,500.00)

Tamba Traore is the Regional Director for African Sky in the Segou and Markala area in central Mali. Tamba is a remarkable community-oriented citizen. For decades he has helped neighbors and family with everything from prescriptions and school fees to food and shelter. After he graciously agreed to join the African Sky family, we established an annual “Tamba Project” which provides funds for community development and emergency household assistance in the Markala region. Tamba’s funds support students in need of food or medicine, women’s literacy and social entrepreneurism, and more. Dozens of our volunteers and supporters have visited Markala and been hosted by Tamba. This project honors one of the kindest hosts and leaders with whom we have the honor to work.

13-CA-04   Small Enterprise Hope & Promise Fund ($5,761.74)

African Sky has always worked with Malian partners who developed low-cost, high-return business plans that fulfill a secondary purpose: fostering community and reducing extreme poverty. This year African Sky provided start-up and improvement funds for four social entrepreneurs in four different communities. Burama in Dissan is building a chicken and egg facility to supply a large regional market with bulk buyers who serve even larger markets. Haby sells OTC medications after preparing, eating, and cleaning her family’s evening meal; Haby received funds to bolster her inventory so she could buy more desirable brands and increase her daily sales. Drisa Guindo of Bamako received Hope & Promise Funds to make modest improvements to his breakfast and lunch stand. In Sido, a market town in Mali, Merchant Koniba Doumbia received Hope & Promise Funds to help him recover from the theft of part of his inventory. The Dissan Women’s Association received Hope & Promise Funds to establish a large-scale soap and she butter operation for domestic use and for selling in local markets.

2012

EDUCATION ($13,302.78)

12-ED-01   Markala Women’s Literacy Project ($1,229.17)

This annual program teaches women literacy and basic math for women. The class meets 2-3 times a week (minus holidays) for nine months.

12-ED-02   Giving Tree Adopt-a-student ($300.00)

 Each year, some who participate in the Giving Tree choose to adopt a student for one school year. The support includes money for clothing and all school materials. In addition, the funds provide grain (up to 200kg) to supplement family food supplies. Some children do not attend school because their parents need farm labor; the grain permits a poor family to send a child to school without jeopardizing family food security.

12-ED-03   Soumabougou School Construction ($5,613.34)

 Our team completed brick production for the Soumabougou School by early May 2012. Now they are building classroom walls! For fiscal year 2012, our budget produced bricks and worked towards the completion of the final construction phase (which began in September 2012!).

12-ED-04   Giving Tree – Teacher Supplies 2012 ($300.00)

 Each year, some of our Giving Tree donors contribute funds to support Malian teachers and their classrooms. Teachers receive supplies (purchased in Mali… we support the teacher AND small-scale Malian entrepreneurs with the same funds!), and sometimes small funds to purchase classroom essentials.

12-ED-05   Adult Literacy Dissan ($309.28)

 In Dissan, our partner Issa Sangare teaches adult literacy to adult males and females who did not have the opportunity to attend primary school. He teaches them math, reading, and writing. He has used some African Sky funds to acquire solar panels and LED lighting for his students (who study and attend class in the evenings).

12-ED-06   Giving Tree – Cement for 10 Schools Project ($195.00)

Some of our Giving Tree donors gave funds to purchase the cement we use to stabilize our earth blocks, the key construction material for our schools.

12-ED-07   African Sky-Kenya Scholarships ($5,355.99)

African Sky-Kenya is supporting students who participated in our early reading and sports programs in Kenya. Now, several promising students from that program attend college on African Sky-Kenya scholarships. Scholarship funds are generated by our partners Caleb Mooty and Steve Feldman in Atlanta, Georgia. The bake and sell pretzels at local Atlanta pubs.

FOOD SECURITY ($5,267.29)

 12-FS-01    Food/Family Crisis Assistance (multi-site) ($2,400.68)

When families in our partner communities face extreme hunger or hardship, African Sky tries to step in an provide urgent assistance. These funds have been used to buy food, medicine, or to pay for hospital bills.

12-FS-02    Giving Tree – Goats & Chickens for Rural Families ($915.00)

Some of our Giving Tree donors choose to purchase goats and chickens to invest in hardworking farm families. In fiscal year 2012, our donors purchased 18 goats and 24 chickens for our Malian friends.

12-FS-03    Giving Tree – Community Cereal Bank 2012 ($773.20)

Some of our Giving Tree donors supported our annual cereal bank budget. We use these funds to assist community organizations that are developing or strengthening a community cereal bank. We also provide cereal bank consulting, but that service is a free service that is no-cost for our donors.

12-FS-04    Annual Hungry Season/Ramadan Food Assistance ($1,178.41)

Between planting and harvesting annual crops, Malians endure what we call “the hungry season.” Until the new harvest comes in, household food supplies dwindle… each year, 10-20 families in Dissan (for example) run out of grain completely. Hungry Season assistance provides food insecure families with a supply of grain to supplement the household until harvest.

COMMUNITY ARTS ($944.27)

 12-CA-01    Banconi Plateau Neighborhood New Year’s Fete ($83.33)

To ring in 2012, African Sky hosted a New Year’s party in an extremely impoverished neighborhood in Bamako, Mali’s capital city. Kids played games, teens and adults danced, and people enjoyed some modest food and beverages.

12-CA-02   “Egg-Tigi” Income Generation Grant ($41.24)

After six years of our visitors eating roadside breakfasts at Drissa’s egg sandwich shack (Bamako), African Sky gave Drissa an income generation loan to purchase a supply of beverages that he now sells along with his other food stand menu items. When he was ready to pay back African Sky, we asked him to reinvest it in his small business. For less than $50 African Sky helped Drissa build up his small business, which now employs three people.

12-CA-03   Electrician Supplies & Electronics Recycling ($85.60)

African Sky partners with Karamoko Sangare in Markala to help his electronics repair business. Karamoko received a new electronics tester and volt meter, as well as a supply of high-quality electrical solder. He supports his extended family with this business, and he helps his community keep radios, televisions, and other items working (and out of landfills).

12-CA-04   Little Eagles New Year’s Tournaments (2) ($734.10)

The Little Eagles Bamako Soccer Leagues had two tournaments to celebrate the arrival of 2012. The games are featured on our Little Eagles facebook page… check it out! You’ll see pictures, videos, scores/results, and more.

We also hosted a Little Eagles Game Day Stadium Trip. In January 2012, the Director of the Little Eagles project organized a special trip to Mali’s national stadium to see a professional soccer match. We brought 35 kids and several coaches to the stadium and cheered as we watched a victory for the local team!

Additionally we hosted two Spring Tournaments (two regions). The games are featured on our Little Eagles facebook page.

COMMUNITY HEALTH ($5,262.32)

12-CH-01   Rural Pharmacy Supplies ($261.22)

Each year we purchase basic medicines and first aid supplies (in Mali) for our partner communities. We augment these purchased supplies with in-kind donations from the U.S. These medicines typically include aspirin, vitamins, imodium, and other over-the-counter products.

12-CH-02   Dissan Women’s Association ($408.16)

Last fiscal year we assisted the Dissan Women’s Association with supplies to make and sell soap and peanut butter. They collectively save and disburse profits to members and make special clothing for village celebrations.

12-CH-03   Sorghum Press Preparation at Machinist’s Site ($206.19)

Our Engineers Without Borders partners at University of California, Santa Barbara are helping us collaborate with a Malian machinist to produce a manual press to make molasses from sweet sorghum. This project will soon allow men and women in rural communities to produce a local sweetener that helps inspire kids (and others) to eat their porridge (and it saves moms a lot of money because they don’t have to purchase imported (and less nutritional) sugar.

12-CH-04   Peace Corps Malaria Awareness Bike Tour ($330.00)

African Sky partnered with Peace Corps Volunteer Lauren Kraft (and her friends) to do a creative and energetic Malaria Awareness Bike Tour. The volunteers biked from village to village. They carried microscopes so local people could actually SEE malaria. They taught various treatment and prevention strategies through songs, skits, and art. The project received high accolades by locals, and was featured on the Peace Corps and Roll Back Malaria websites.

12-CH-05   Post-Coup Assistance ($2,500.00)

Following the March 2012 coup d’etat, African Sky provided funds to our Mali Country Directors so they could respond to immediate needs of families in our partner communities. These funds were eventually used to pay for medical bills, hospital visits, food, and even two funerals.

12-CH-06   Giving Tree – Fruit & Medicine “Health” Baskets (x4) ($160.00)

Some of our Giving Tree donors provided funds so African Sky could deliver a bountiful basket of fruit and health supplies to mothers in need. This year we provided baskets to four nursing mothers with sick and/or malnourished infants.

12-CH-07   Giving Tree – Bed Nets, treated ($130.00)

Some of our Giving Tree donors provided funds to purchase and deliver 13 bed nets to prevent malaria in elderly and nursing mother populations. The nets are treated with anti-mosquito ingredients, and are big enough for mothers to co-sleep with up to 2-3 children.

12-CH-08   Dokotoro Project Contracting & Translation ($1,266.75)

African Sky is a partner of the Dokotoro Project. This project is translating the book Where There is No Doctor into Bamanakan, a local language for the majority of Malian citizens. The book has been used by health workers, Peace Corps (worldwide), and others who do not have access (geographical and/or financial) to professional health care.

2011

EDUCATION ($8,717.04)

11-ED-01   School Construction Brick Press ($5,371.00)

With special thanks to an anonymous donor at our annual Silent Auction event, we raised over $4,000 to help us purchase a manual press to make CSEBs (compressed, stabilized earth blocks) as an ecologically sustainable and health-conscious material for building our new schools. We purchased this remarkable and high-quality press (Auram Press) from Auroville in India. After a long boat ride and thousands of kilometers of road transportation, our press finally arrived. We look forward to putting it to use in the new fiscal year to build our first CSEB school in central Mali.

 11-ED-02   Women’s Literacy ($1,143.00)

African Sky supports community-based women’s literacy projects in three of our partner villages. With a modest investment of approximately $20 per student, the African Sky family helped over 60 women develop skills in reading, writing, and basic math using Bamanankan.

 11-ED-03   AS Kenya Scholarships ($172.81)

Following their volunteer experience in a Kenyan school, the organizers of the AS Kenya project continue to support talented and deserving students living in their former host community. Project leaders Steve and Robert are looking forward to providing additional support for their AS Kenya students through future fundraising in the Atlanta area. See more about this unique project, and look for updates as Steve and Robert continue their work in Kenya. African Sky primarily works in Mali, but they’ve partnered with African Sky and our Executive Director to help build this Kenyan initiative. The duo first encountered Scott when they were Emory University students during Scott’s years there as an anthropology professor.

11-ED-04   Giving Tree – Adopt-a-Student ($300.00)

At our annual Silent Auction event, donors provided $300 to sponsor two students, one boy and one girl, in Markala. The students received funding for their school fees, materials, clothing, and their family received 200kg of grain for household meals.

11-ED-05   Giving Tree – School Supplies and Support ($1,730.00)

This year, our most popular item purchased through our Giving Tree program was the school supplies ornament. In all donors provided $1,300 via the Giving Tree, and African Sky added another $400 in funds to provide boxes of school materials for teachers and students. Using these funds African Sky helped local merchants in small markets to purchase supplies for four schools, including chalkboards, chalkboard paint, chalk, notebooks, pens, pencils, books, classroom paint, school bags, art supplies, maps, and much more.

FOOD SECURITY ($3,095.00)

11-FS-01    Giving Tree – Chickens & Goats for Rural Families ($715.00)

Donors from our Silent Auction event provided funds to provide hard-working farming families in need with a boost in terms of a few chickens or a couple goats. This year African Sky purchased 24 young goats and 54 chickens.

 11-FS-02    Sweet Sorghum Varieties Trial ($320.00)

On the heels of a great collaboration with Engineers Without Borders, African Sky, and the Dissan’s Women’s Association, Dissan farmers participated in a special seed testing project to assess varieties of sweet sorghum. They planted the varieties in family fields, and are currently assessing their harvests to determine which varieties grow well and produce plenty of juice. Using a special manual press developed by Engineers Without Borders students at UC Santa Barbara, the Dissan Women’s Association is making molasses for household use in porridge.

 11-FS-03    Hungry Season Food Assistance ($682.55)

In what has become an annual African Sky tradition, during our summer site visits, we work with community leaders to identify households experiencing extreme food crises in advance of the fall harvest. This year we purchased just over 2 tons of grain, which was discretely distributed to over a dozen families.

11-FS-04    Cereal Bank Donations, Multiple Sites ($1,377.45)

To help bolster two cereal banks, which African Sky helped establish, we purchased 10.6 tons of regionally sourced grain surplus in the communities surrounding Dissan and in Markala. Markala, a larger community received 6.1 tons (61 sacks) and the Dissan cereal bank received 4.5 tons (45 sacks).

COMMUNITY HEALTH ($4,669.00)

11-CS-01   African Sky Cross-Generational Women’s Summit ($2,300.00)

The African Sky Mothers and Daughters Summit was a remarkable collaboration between seven communities, five Peace Corps volunteers, eight women’s associations, one radio station, and well over 200 Malian women across the generations. Funding for the Summit was provided by dozens of individual donors, a grant from World Connect, and a matching donation through the General Electric Foundation. The summit took place on January 12th in Markala, Mali, and it was a multigenerational gathering of women for the purpose of mutual empowerment, resource sharing, and project idea development. For more information on this transformative initiative, please visit our facebook page and website to see the summit program, photos, and more.

11-CS-02   Pump Repair Project – Engineers Without Borders ($1,169.80)

With support from the University of Arizona chapter of Engineers Without Borders, African Sky sent Dissan’s resourceful, water pump repair team to northern Mali to assist a Dogon community named Mandoli repair a broken pump that hasn’t worked in years. The team discovered that the pump and water source were no longer tenable sources for the community’s water supply, so they consulted with community leaders to develop a new plan to improve access to drinking water in Mandoli. The Dissan team agreed to continue to serve as project consultants as the Mandoli community works together on a new solution. The remote location of the community, and the expensive materials required to repair pumps and the meters and meters of pipes that reach to the water table make these projects quite expensive. Fortunately, the Dissan team has had three additional community consultations in which they were able to repair damaged water pumps. They also maintain Dissan’s two water pumps, which have been operating smoothly since the UC Santa Barbara Engineers Without Borders first visited the village.

11-CS-03   Moringa Tree Project ($342.00)

The moringa tree is a brilliant resource for rural communities in Mali and far beyond. Peace Corps volunteers have been promoting moringa tree projects as a means to confront deforestation, and as a resource for cooking, medicines, and more. They grow quickly and can provide leaves and fruit from the first year (if grown from a cutting), and they are packed with great nutritional value (vitamins A, B, C, and K, as well as other essential nutrients). Funds to develop moringa nursery initiatives in three villages were provided by a former African Sky volunteer, Katherine Reiter in loving memory of her father (Katherine’s memorial funds also provided follow-up support to provide moringa project materials for attendees of the African Sky Women’s Summit—under a separate budget line).

11-CS-04   Emergency Medical Assistance ($400.00)

When families in our partner communities fall into crisis due to a major health crisis, African Sky tries to provide urgent assistance when we have the resources to do so. This year African Sky provided the following health resources to households in our partner communities:

  • Rural pharmacy supplies – annual donation (aspirin, OTC meds, bandages, cotton swabs, and antibiotic solution.)
  • Bed net distribution (pregnant and nursing mothers and elders)
  • Assistance to two nursing mothers whose infants were critically ill (doctor’s visit and medications).

COMMUNITY ARTS ($1,000.00) 

11-CA-01   ABEF Women’s Association Grant ($400.00)

Since our first visit to Markala, Dissan has provided support to the ABEF Women’s Association and their creative income-generating initiatives. This year, African Sky provided a surprise grant to ABEF to help them purchase materials for their collective peanut butter making enterprise. They purchased a large manual roaster and other production supplies, as well as additional sacks of locally sourced peanuts.

11-CA-02   Musow Jigi Women’s Association Grant ($400.00)

Musow Jigi is a remarkable group of Markala women led by former physician Ma Ji. These women work together on a wide variety of self-help and collective income generation projects. They also train young women as interns in their organization, teaching them a wide range of skills bridging lessons on health, finances, and skill building. Musow Jigi creates value-added products drying food products from Mango, onion, and tomatoes, and they produce concentrates from ginger and hibiscus, they do embroidery and sewing, they help establish small food preparation enterprises, and so much more. In honor of their prolific impact in Markala, African Sky provided a modest operations grant to Muso Jigi, which was instrumental as co-hosts for the African Sky Women’s Summit.

11-CA-03   Dissan Soccer Tournament ($100.00)

In advance of the 2011 growing season, African Sky worked with the youth association in Dissan to host a multi-village soccer tournament.

 11-CA-04   Banconi Plateau Youth Soccer Clinic ($100.00)

Noting the scores of young children who meet every day to play soccer in the Banconi Plateau neighborhood at the edge of Bamako, African Sky recruited three youth leaders to organize a one-day soccer clinic. The children ran drills, played games, and concluded with a mini-tournament and several skills contents. Prizes and snacks were provided for participants. Over 60 kids joined in on the fun.

2010

EDUCATION ($3,525.88)

10-ED-01   School Mural Projects – Peace Corps Grants ($289.60)

Peace Corps Volunteer Monica Garcia received a grant to complete two murals in her host community Kamona. She partnered with regional Peace Corps volunteers to paint two world map murals, one for the community’s primary school, the other for the community’s secondary school.

Peace Corps Volunteer Pete Cook also received grants for a similar map mural project for his host village in the Bougouni Region, not far from Dissan. Following his project, he purchased additional supplies and delivered those (along with his remaining supply of paints and materials) back to African Sky for use in Dissan. During the 2009-10 goodwill visit to Mali, African Sky members painted four murals in the primary school. In addition to a map of Mali and a map of Africa, they also painted murals depicting the human digestive and circulatory systems.

10-ED-02   Operation School Bag ($421.05)

For 2010, African Sky’s annual “Operation School Bag” provided boxes of notebooks, pens, chalk, hand-held chalkboards, chalkboard paint, gradebooks, jump ropes, and soccer balls for the primary school in Dissan. The school director Zu Kone stores the supplies in the school office, and he distributes them as needed throughout the year to students and teachers. He and the other teachers use the chalkboard paint to restore the classroom chalkboards.

10-ED-03   Bamako Computer Training  ($136.84)

African Sky provided funds to send two young students to complete a basic computing course in Bamako. The students previously attended Dissan primary school and are currently living in Bamako with extended family. During this summer program, the students learned how to use Microsoft Word and Excel. We invested in these two students with the thought of them possibly helping to manage small projects for African Sky in the future.

10-ED-04   Adult Literacy – Dissan & Markala  ($1,052.61)

Adult literacy has become an important and popular project in our annual project cycle. For the many adults who never had the opportunity to attend or graduate from primary school, adult education courses can help them learn to read, write, and do basic math in Bamanankan (the most widely spoken language in our project area). This year, African Sky ran literacy courses in Markala (women’s literacy through the ABEF Women’s Association) and Dissan (through local teachers Yaya Samake and Issa Sangare). Learning to read and write, even as an adult, can help spread literacy to other family members, and it becomes an essential tool for recording and managing household/personal financial decisions.

10-ED-05   EcoDugu Land ($1,325.78)

African Sky is planning a long-term project on the edge of the southern town Bougouni. The project, tentatively known as “EcoDugu” (EcoVillage) will become a training site to teach representatives from our partner communities how to make stabilized earth blocks and then how to use them to create village schools and houses. Compressed stabilized earth blocks (CSEBs) are environmentally more sustainable than concrete block, and they make the most of abundant local resources (labor and earth/soil) while minimizing the use of expensive, non-local, and environmentally problematic cement. In 2010, the elders of the Kokele Region near Bougouni discussed the idea of the EcoDugu facility, and they offered African Sky land to build it. The land is well situated with easy access to the main road leading to Bougouni, which also facilitates communications, supplies, deliveries, and other beneficial resources. In order to officially process this donation, African Sky provided funds to file paperwork, pay government fees, and to survey and mark boundaries. The 5-hectare site is part of our long-term vision of providing collaborative opportunities to learn, experiment, and build with community partners across Mali.

10-ED-06   African Sky US Schools & Education Program ($0/no cost)        

This year, African Sky provided educational programs and events for four universities, one community group, and two school districts. African Sky provides no-cost programs, session content, and speakers to promote our organization and friendship between Mali and the US (and now Canada!).

University Programs

  • Guest Lecture, Department of Anthropology, Quinnipiac University (Hamden, CT)
  • Guest Lecture, Department of Anthropology, Smith College (Northampton, MA)
  • Guest Lecture, Engineers Without Borders, MIT (Cambridge, MA)
  • Guest Lecture and Panelist, Fairfield University (Fairfield, CT)

High School Programs & Community Groups

  • Speaker and School Visit, Winter Springs School District (Winter Springs, FL)
  • Concert for Classrooms, MYST Student Group (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
  • Coffee House Talent Show, MYST Student Group (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
  • Screening: “Sustaining Life” Documentary, United Church of Christ-Akron (Ohio)

10-ED-07   African Sky Kenya ($0/no cost to African Sky)

Emory University graduates Robert Mooty and Steve Feldman joined with their former professor, African Sky’s Executive Director, Scott Lacy, to organize an amazing long-term volunteer experience in Kenya. The two volunteers are living in a Kenyan community to support the local school. They arrived in spring 2010, and plan on staying for the next school year. They are already active coaching soccer; leading male and female soccer tournaments; teaching biology, chemistry, and math; building up the school library, and launching a “health club” for after school workshops and events. Robert and Steve raise their own funds to support their initiatives, but they receive mentoring and organizational help through Scott and other African Sky partners.

10-ED-08   Science/Tech Support for the Markala Lycée ($0/no cost)

During the summer of 2010, students and faculty from UC Santa Barbara and the University of Arizona along with African Sky staff visited Lycée Bambougou N’dji de Markala to survey the school’s science, technology, and information resources. Principal Marie Issa Diallo, Vice Principal Nicolas Diarra and faculty members led a tour of the Center of Documentation and Information, the textbook repository, the computer lab, and the science lab, then met with the visitors to establish development goals based on the tour. Several projects were identified that support the objectives of the school and African Sky:

  • Improve computer lab with better internet access
  • Augment science equipment available to teach science concepts and methodology
  • Develop hardware and software resources for students and teachers
  • Improve science lab infrastructure.

Following their Mali visit, the UCSB team provided an overflowing box of electronics and supplies that local engineers used to upgrade the lycee’s internet connection and network.

10-ED-09   Adopt-a-Student – Giving Tree ($300.00)

As a result of a generous donation from this year’s giving tree program, African Sky sponsored a high school student in need at the Lycee in Markala. The student received funds for all fees, clothing, school supplies, and 100kg of grain (millet) for his family’s annual food supply, and a modest cash reserve for unanticipated costs for things like medicine and health care.

FOOD SECURITY ($4,431.59)

10-FS-01    Community Tree Planting – Peace Corps Grant ($207.00)

Peace Corps Volunteer Audra Hesler received a mini-grant to support her community tree planting project. A PLASMA tree planting method training was held in the village of Kouoro with 67 attendees coming from nine different villages (Kumulayla, Kouoro Barrage, Kouoro Badala, Sokrouni, Karciala, Soronto, Kabaraaso, Ntosso and Kouoro). The training began with a classroom session and a discussion on why tree planting is important, as well as some the challenges of planting trees. Then the group moved outside to watch a tree planting demonstration. After the initial demonstration and lunch was finished the group to divided into three teams, each of which took three trees to be planted in throughout the village. Workshop leaders visited with each group and inspected the work. Six additional trees were given to representatives of the visiting villages to take back and plant. Everyone was then given the opportunity to ask questions and give feedback. Many were interested in trying to create orchards during the dry season using this improved planting method. The day ended with thanking session leaders Jude Thera and Joel Scata. A few weeks after the training, the trees planted in the village of Kouoro were inspected again. All families had protected the trees with fencing and were also doing excellent jobs of watering the trees on a weekly basis, as instructed. Several months after the training, people of the village were still using the planting method and were visiting Audra with questions and updates. Many people in the village have also expressed to do further trainings with tree planting and grafting techniques because of the success of the PLASMA training.

10-FS-02    African Sky Cereal Banks ($1333.34)     

Based on the previous year’s success and local reinvestment of African Sky sponsored cereal banks in Markala and Dissan, we provided an additional investment so both cereal banks could better meet local demand. ABEF in Markala, and village leaders in Dissan purchase millet and sorghum at harvest while prices are low, and rather than make a major profit during the hungry season, they sell to local families in need of grain at slightly above cost (far more affordable than prevailing commercial prices).

The women of ABEF sold grain from their African Sky Sponsored Cereal Bank. Upon selling over 2 tons of their millet stock, they made back their original capital plus profit. Each member received 7,500 CFA and the remaining funds were saved for reinvestment in millet for the next harvest.

10-FS-03    Goats & Chickens for Farming Families – Giving Tree ($1050.00)

The African Sky Giving Tree is a special part of our annual Silent Auction Event in northeast Ohio. Friends in attendance purchase ornaments on the tree, and their individual donations are used to by individual gifts for Malian families in our host communities. In all, African Sky distributed 90 chickens (30 sets of three) and 16 goats to hard-working farming families who benefited from a little extra help.

10-FS-04    Emergency Food Crisis Relief, Multi-Sited ($1,115.59)

Over the course of the fiscal year, African Sky identified seven households who received emergency funds to help cover unanticipated financial crises caused by situations such as extreme food shortages, damaged essential farming equipment, and veterinarian costs for livestock. Recipients of food crisis funds were identified in Dissan and on the outskirts of Bamako.

10-FS-05    Manual Maize Processing Machines ($144.91)

African Sky purchased four manual machines that efficiently and quickly remove maize kernels from the cob. This task is typically done by hand, but the inexpensive machines make quick and easy work of this job. The machines were purchased at Agro Industrielle in Bamako, and they were given to four Dissan households who were asked to test them and to report back on their usage. Based on feedback, African Sky is considering strategies to purchase additional machines to be shared among community members.

10-FS-06    Sorghum Press Table and Preparation ($77.61)

In preparation for this year’s visit and collaboration with Engineers Without Borders, African Sky hired a carpenter to acquire materials and build a strong table capable of supporting the remarkable sorghum press that the engineering team developed and created for testing in Dissan. The carpenter provided supplemental materials in the even that the table would require additional support, features, or repairs. The press was designed to expel the juice from sweet sorghum, which is then reduced over heat into molasses (for sweetening porridge, for example).

10-FS-07    Community Garden Projects ($503.14)

African Sky partnered with two village associations in the Kokele region to augment local resources for existing community garden initiatives/groups. Specifically, we purchased $77.61 of seed at Mali Semence SARL, and we purchased three Nafasoro foot pumps with tubing to distribute well water in the gardens.

COMMUNITY HEALTH ($4,636.77)

10-CH-01   School Pump Repair – Peace Corps Grant ($226.89)

African Sky delivered funds to Peace Corps Monica Garcia to repair the water pump at the school in her host community, Kamona. Monica worked with African Sky to raise the funds from her family and friends in the US, and she was able to hire a team to purchase all replacement parts, transportation, and labor to fix this pump that is used by hundreds of students daily.

10-CH-02   Soak Pit Project – Peace Corps Grant ($127.00)

Peace Corps Volunteer Jacob Asher applied for and received an African Sky Peace Corps grant to complete a Soak Pit Project in his host community, Niantanso. The soak pit, sometimes referred to as a leach pit, is used to safeguard community drinking water and prevent stagnant pools of water, which easily become a breeding ground for mosquitos and malaria.

10-CH-03   Jigiya – Grant for Self-Advocacy Disability Group ($315.79)     

With mentorship from Country Director Tamba Traore, Jigiya has become a regular partner in the community of Markala. As a self-advocacy group for people with physical and developmental disabilities, Jigiya helps its members learn skills and income generating opportunities, and they assist local families who have disabled family members. For the past few years, African Sky has provided small grants to augment Jigiya’s operations account.

10-CH-04   Wheel Chair Donations (3) ($212.76)

This year African Sky donated three wheelchairs to Malians. The first two were sourced through MedWish International upon the request of African Sky Co-Founder Christine Lacy. African Sky picked up two wheelchairs from MedWish International, and the volunteers who represented the organization on our recent goodwill visit transported the wheelchairs as excess baggage on Air France. These first two wheelchairs were given two members of Jigiya, our self-advocacy disabilities partners in Markala (two females, one adult, one child). African Sky member Cherie Wade helped to fit and adjust the wheelchairs for both recipients. The third wheelchair was created from scratch by a machinist and blacksmith duo in Bamako. This third wheelchair was given to a teenage boy living in Dissan. The funds associated with this projects were primarily spent on the supplies and labor required to create the third wheelchair, but a small portion of the funds were used to repair and fit one of the MedWish wheelchairs, and for transportation of the third wheel chair to the village.

10-CH-05   Malaria Field Test Kit & Consulting ($1,628.73)      

During an extended 2010 visit to Mali, Executive Director Scott Lacy served as a field consultant for representatives of the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative regarding the distribution of Malaria field test kits. Inspired by this non-African Sky project, Scott acquired malaria field test kits, malaria medication (Coartem), and distributed them (along with instructions) to teachers and engaged community members in several extremely impoverished neighborhoods (in and around Banconi Plateau) on the outskirts of Bamako where malaria infections are extremely common in people of all ages.

10-CH-06   Engineers Without Borders Water Pumps Project ($0/no cost to African Sky – funded by EWB)

Students from Engineers Without Borders teams at UC Santa Barbara, and the University of Arizona, African Sky and the Peace Corps are collaborating on ways to help villages access the resources they need to maintain water pumps. The reliable operation of pumps is critical to the health and smooth running of African Sky partner communities. The groups are collaborating with Malians to compile training instructions, provide tools and hands-on instruction, and develop ways for villages to share best practices with each other. The long-term goal of this project is to help villages develop the technical, social and financial tools that they need to ensure that they have adequate safe drinking water. During a visit to Mali in Summer 2010, these organizations worked with community residents to discuss common pump problems and to locate reliable sources and parts for pump repair.

Accomplishments during this visit:

  • The team used EWB-raised funds to purchase a complete pump repair toolkit for the African Sky pump repair team (a group based in Dissan).
  • The team completed bacteria testing of pumps and wells in Dissan and Markala
  • They worked with local residents to repair the main water pump in Jelakologi.
  • They provided parts and instruction to the pump team in Dissan to repair seals and bearings for the two pumps in Dissan, and they discussed strategies for preventing damage to the pumps from children playing on or misusing the handle.
  • The team worked with residents to repair one pump in Soumabougu
  • The team evaluated a pump in N’pembougou. Because repair parts were unavailable in region, the African Sky pump team returned later to repair the pump on behalf of the EWB volunteers.

2010 Team: University of California Santa Barbara: David Brock, Will Koehl, Sarah Stoltz and advisor David Bothman; University of Arizona: Patrick Mette and Lauren Case; African Sky: Teresa Bothman, Scott Lacy, Yacoba Sangare, Wylie Stroberg

10-CH-07   Engineers Without Borders Sorghum Press ($0/no cost to African Sky – funded by EWB)

In 2009 UCSB Mechanical Engineering students designed and built a hand-powered machine to squeeze juice from the stalk of sweet sorghum. In the summer of 2010, a team of UCSB students presented the press to the women of Dissan. In collaboration with African Sky, the women’s group is now testing the effectiveness of the press using several different sweet sorghum varieties planted in Dissan fields. Following these tests and any necessary redesign, additional machinists in Bamako will manufacture presses. The women from Dissan will train women volunteers in their home villages to use this equipment to extract the juice, that can be boiled down into sorghum syrup, for home and possible commercial production.

Key accomplishments to date:

  • Prototype completed and delivered to Dissan Women’s group
  • First draft of manual for repair and maintenance completed and delivered.
  • Press reviewed with machine shops in Bamako for future duplication
  • Stand for press built and delivered to Dissan.
  • Press demonstration and training conducted in Dissan

2010 Team: University of California Santa Barbara: Carly Gruenwald, Garrett Mattos, Robert Matarazzo, Raad Mobrem and Fraser Wyatt – 2009; David Brock, Will Koehl, Sarah Stoltz and advisor David Bothman – 2010; African Sky: Teresa, Scott Lacy, Yacoba Sangare, Wylie Stroberg

10-CH-08   Reading Glasses of Yacouba ($53.19)    

In the summer of 2010, it was discovered that long-time African Sky partner Yacouba Sangare was in need of glasses to correct his vision. Yacouba helps organize projects and records African Sky expenditures on projects in Mali. To help Yacouba correct his vision and maintain his ability to adequately track project expenditure and correspond with US personnel, African Sky provided funds for Yacouba to visit an optician and to purchase a pair of prescription eye-glasses. African Sky co-founder Kathy Lacy donated funds to African Sky to cover this mini-project/gift.

10-CH-09   Medical Emergency Funds ($478.72)

For years, African Sky has partnered with leaders in our host communities to identify people and households who need help paying for medical treatments, doctor visits, and hospitalizations. This year, we provided direct assistance to six families to cover costs of prescription medications, two doctor visits, and one brief hospitalization. All recipients of these emergency funds were residents of Dissan.

10-CH-10   Dissan Pump Team – Regional Assistance ($1,170.29)      

The Dissan pump repair team is responsible for maintaining and fixing the two water pumps in their village. That said, ever since their first collaboration with an Engineers Without Borders team from University of California Santa Barbara, they have increased their capacity to perform preventative maintenance, as well as doing major repairs and pump overhauls. In the 2010 fiscal year, the pump repair team worked with EWB again, and with generous assistance and funding from the EWB volunteers, the team assisted four regional villages to assist with community pump repairs.

10-CH-11   Dissan Pump Protection, Flooring, and Wall ($370.21)

Based on advice from and discussions with the Engineers Without Borders team that visited Dissan in 2010, African Sky provided a grant to the Dissan pump repair team to modify the two pump stations in the village. Specifically, the had an industrial machinist create two handle protectors (one for each pump) that essentially restrict the pump handles to up and down movements by preventing side to side movements that, despite being slight movements, slowly and steadily destroy the interior mechanics of the pumps. These steel “guides” were installed by the team, and they also purchased cement to make a sanitary floor at both pump sites (prevents mud and standing water) along with a chest-high surrounding wall on the perimeter of each pump site. The handle guide will add years to the life of the pumps, and the improved pump sites will make the pumping area more sanitary and healthy (avoiding standing water that breeds mosquitos and malaria).

10-CH-12   Morgue Scrubs – Abdoulaye Atteliere ($53.19)         

African Sky contracted one of the three tailors who make our new line of African Sky Scrubs to make a set of five complete scrubs (shirt and pants) to give to the morgue in Markala. We have provided this morgue with previous donations of medical gloves, and this year’s scrub donation was a way to provide a modest and useful resource to support the small crew who operate this facility that serves villages and towns throughout the area surrounding Markala.

COMMUNITY ARTS ($657.28)

10-CA-01   AS Goodwill Visit to Mali ($0/no cost to African Sky)

For the first time in our organization’s history, a group of core African Sky family members organized a goodwill visit to Mali in order to visit our primary partner communities and friends. No African Sky funds were used to cover costs associated with this trip because travelers paid their own way. The group also contributed funds for projects and activities with the communities we visited.   Over a 12-day period, the group visited Markala, Diamouna, Soumabougou, Dissan, and Kokele. They also spent time with partners in the cities of Bamako and Segou.

Group member Sarah Vradenburg wrote the following report to share some details from this amazing trip:

“Jim and Linda Peshina, Becca Salchak and Sarah Vradenburg joined Scott Lacy, Christine Lacy, Kathy Lacy, Kevin Dreslinsky, Cherie Wade, and Corbin Wade to promote African Sky’s work and relationships with rural villages in Mali. Oh sure, there were the usual surprises: sheep and goats routinely traveling on top of passenger vans; motorcycles competing with donkey carts on narrow streets; and even colorful balloon frenzies, thanks to Becca’s balloon shaping artistry!

 During the 12 days we traveled in Mali, we could not have anticipated the warmth, love and excitement our trip generated among our hosts. We could not have foreseen the pageantry that awaited us, villages displaying centuries-old ceremonies to welcome us, nationally known musicians providing a private, New Year’s Eve concert in honor of our visit.

 Mali is, by all objective measures, one of the poorest nations on Earth. The CIA World Factbook lists it as one of the 25th poorest nations, out of 266 it lists. Life expectancy is about 51 years. Infant mortality is fifth highest in the world.       That is why the work of African Sky, and other grass-roots development groups, is so important. Rather than offer a top-down approach, in which an organization comes into the country, offers some aid and then leaves, African Sky’s focus is to work with local villages, elders and government officials, to use Malian labor and materials to build the kind of institutions that will help Malians make their own lives better. There is no better way to do that than education, although African Sky is also involved in digging wells and working with women’s groups (among other things).

 If a village (nearly 70 percent of Malians live outside of cities) does not have a school, children must leave their village to attend school elsewhere, if that is an option. That can involve daily trips of several kilometers or more or, more likely, a child moving to that village during the week and coming home on weekends to attend to chores. The problem becomes more acute as the child gets older. Once out of primary school, a child wanting more education is likely to have to move from home for long periods of time. The country’s literacy rate is about 46% of adults; men’s have a 53 percent literacy rate, women, about 39 percent.

 Another village we visited is Diamona, which is widely respected because its residents pay their full share of taxes yet do not have a school. Still, everyone there was so excited at our visit that we were treated to a “marionette’’ show, not involving puppets but larger than life representation of mythological creatures – antelope, birds, a hippopotamus, a rat, and even a lion – that depict the history of Mali and its people.

 At every point along the way, we were treated with great respect and love. The children are beautiful, eager, bright, and so much fun. Their excitement at the prospect of gaining a school showed up in the many parades that surrounded our van as we pulled into a village, or during an inter-village soccer game in Dissan, or some exciting boat races in Soumabougou. And everywhere, people danced. Boy, did we dance.

 This kind of help, which focuses on developing relationships and starts with discussions to understand the wishes of partner community affirms their inherent dignity and love for their country and families. African Sky has been doing that for a long time. Our group’s goodwill visit was another step in that ongoing effort.”

10-CA-02   Mande Sessions Documentary ($0/no cost to African Sky)

African Sky used our social network and web presence to promote a documentary project and fundraiser led by Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Adam Klein. His project included the filming and recording of a CD and documentary of Bambara songs. Adam independently raised over $7,000 to support this project using Kickstarter.

10-CA-03   Jeunesse Dance Party ($105.26)

Following the close of the school year during the summer of 2010, the Dissan Youth Association proposed to organize and sponsor a special party with youth from nearby villages. The party was a celebration of the end of the school year, and the return of local students who attended middle school or high school far away from home. The youth association proposed a budget that included funds from African Sky and from their collective savings. The party included over 200 young people who socialized and danced to music brought to the village by a special remote performance of a regional radio personality from Bougouni.

10-CA-04   Video conversion – Markala / Diamona ($38.81)

Following some remarkable drumming and mask/marionette performances during a 2009-10 goodwill visit by members of the African Sky family, leaders of the performance troops asked African Sky for copies of the video footage our members filmed during their visits. The performances were a highlight for the African Sky team, and we were only too happy to provide some modest funds in order to convert and duplicate copies of this footage for the performing groups. We delivered copies of the performance, as requested, to artisans and partners in Diamona and Markala.

10-CA-05   African Sky Scrubs – First Major Shipment ($355.32)

After last year’s visit by students from Emory University’s chapter of Nourish International, our tailoring partners were hard at work with our first major order of African Sky Scrubs. The national office of Nourish International purchased a bulk order of scrubs for their chapters to sell as fundraisers across the country. This year, using materials and scrubs produced with funds from last fiscal year, our team shipped the first batch of scrubs to the US for delivery to Nourish International.

10-CH-06   African Sky Soccer Tournament, Kokele Commune ($157.89)   

African Sky hosted a summer soccer tournament in Dissan that included teams from six neighboring communities. Funds were used to purchase a quality soccer ball for each of the teams, and to provide prizes and participation gifts for each team. The Dissan youth association organized the tournament under the direction of Issa Sangare and Solo Mariko.

2009

EDUCATION ($3,461.39)

 09-ED-01   Well for Soumabougou School ($1,578.26)

In 2008 African Sky named Soumabougou as one of our partner villages for the 10 for 201 school construction campaign. As such, we will build a school with the people of Soumabougou. To launch this parnership. African Sky installed a well for the school site and prepared the site for future construction. In 2008 we started the well and site prep, and in 2009 we finished and dedicated the site. Executive Director Scott Lacy was given the honor of pulling the first pail of water at the dedication ceremony. To see more about Soumabou and the well project, check out our on-line video “A School for Soumabougou.” Our partners in Winter Springs, Florida and Keeth Elementary School are raising funds to sponsor the school construction, which is scheduled to begin in early 2011.

09-ED-02   School Furnishings and Repairs ($933.65)

The first school that African Sky built was in Dissan, Mali. The school is up and running with six classrooms, six teachers, and nearly 250 students each year. The school also features a small office and storage building for the school director. In 2009 African Sky spent $933.65 to help purchase basic furnishings and filing cabinets for the director’s office and new desks for teachers. The maintenance funds also helped resurface chalkboards, repair wall plaster/stucco, and improve several windows and doors. The routine maintenance and office furnishing project was overseen by Zu Kone, the Director of the Dissan School. Kone hired local artisans and carpenters to complete the project.

09-ED-03   Books for Markala High School Library ($119.55)

The historic high school in Markala, Mali has educated scores of young men and women who later become influential Malians including a president of the republic and the youngest ever elected mayor in the country’s history. As such, the Markala Lycee (high school) has grown into a remarkable school with facilities that are uncommon for most public schools in the country. In addition to a laboratory, a modest computer center, and dozens of classrooms, the school has a library with thousands of books in multiple languages. Malian Country Director Tamba Troare is an English teacher at the high school, and he has worked to increase the English language book collection. Two subject areas that Traore’s for which students have actively sought out English books are African American history and literature. In 2009 African Sky donated a collection of books with a balanced range of reading levels (children’s books to academic texts). African Sky will seek feedback from teachers, students, and librarians to generate a list of future titles we could donate.

09-ED-04   Jamie’s School Murals – Peace Corps Grant ($58.00)

Report submitted by Peace Corps Volunteer Jamie Bowen:

In June 2009, I received $47.80 from African Sky to complete four map murals at the local elementary school in the town of Tominian. As textbooks in Mali and remarkably inaccurate, few students learn proper geography. In fact, most teachers believe there to be only five continents and 52 states in the United States of America. Working with the school director and fourth grade teacher, I developed plans for three large map murals corresponding with the subjects studied in elementary schools. The funds provided by African Sky covered the cost of paint, brushes and gasoline to thin the paint and wash brushes. Subjects included the world, Africa and Mali. After completing the four planned maps, we were able to use the excess paint to complete two more murals in the remaining classrooms. The maps were created using a grid system. I completed each of the grids and drawings with the help of two nearby volunteers and the fourth and grade teacher. Once the drawings were completed, we selected a small team of students and members of the youth association to paint each map. In the end, we completed one world map identifying every country, one map of Africa and four maps of Mali, including all bordering countries.

09-ED-05   Soccer Net and Supplies, Banconi Plateau ($84.50)

The capital city of Mali includes dozens of quartiers/sub-sections on both banks of the Niger River. A few kilometers from the center of town, there is a section of town named Banconi Plateau. Just like our towns and cities in North America, in Bamako there are the richer and the not rich neighborhoods. Banconi Plateau is home to thousands of families living in poverty. For many children in neighborhoods like Banconi Plateau, soccer is a daily ritual. To celebrate the beginning of the new school year, African Sky purchased a set of durable soccer nets and several soccer balls. The teen soccer players in the neighborhood built strong wooden goal posts from which to hang the new nets. In late afternoon and often during weekends, kids and young adults in the community use the nets. The professional quality nets are the first nets the local players have had for their soccer field.

09-ED-06   Operation School Bag 2009 ($220.26)

In 2001, Lacy visited his former Art Teacher and family friend Judy Newhall at Riverview Elementary School. Following his presentation and discussion, Mrs. Newhall and her students corresponded with Lacy while he was on an extended field study in Mali. They sent letters of support, art supplies, stickers, pencils, and original artwork for Malian students. Meanwhile, California second-grade teacher Melissa Mallory worked with her students to send even more educational and art supplies. These early gifts to Malian students were the first stage in the development of Operation School Bag. Over the years, the Lacy family and several schools in California and Ohio have raised funds annually to provide school supplies for each student in the Dissan primary school. African Sky purchases most of the annual school supplies in regional markets in Mali (to promote Malian merchants and conserve on international shipping).

09-ED-07   African Sky US Schools Program ($0)

Since he finished serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mali, African Sky Executive Director Scott Lacy has visited elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools to promote public service and to bring Africa into US classrooms. In 2009, Lacy visited four elementary schools in California, Florida, and Ohio.

Teacher and African Sky Development Director Melissa Mallory organized the California visits and coordinates a special coin-drive to support Africa Sky’s education programs in Mali. During our visits to elementary schools we visit individual classrooms and full school assembles; Lacy typically presents a 50-minute program that includes video clips and music from Mali, West African proverbs and stories, masks, and interactive games using original art created by Malian students.

We provide our US Schools programs at no cost to the schools we visit. The US Schools Program required no funds from the African Sky operating budget. Program services and travel costs for FY2009 school visits were paid by Scott Lacy, Matt Sanders, Chris Lacy, Cherie Wade, Helen McKee, and Linda Peshina. This year we visited schools in Ohio, California, and Florida.

African Sky School Visits (Fiscal Year 2009)

  • Woodridge Elementary, Peninsula, OH
  • Turtleback Elementary, Poway, CA
  • Enchanted Hills Elementary, Perris, CA
  • Keeth Elementary School, Winter Springs, FL

09-ED-08   Education Giving Tree ($467.17)

Donors at our annual silent auction donated funds to deliver education-oriented gifts to deserving students and teachers in Mali. This year, through the giving tree program African Sky adopted a student and purchased school supplies for six primary school teachers. Our adopted student was a boy from Markala who received funds to pay his fees, purchase clothes, school supplies, and a school bag, and his family received 100kg of millet at the start of the school year (which is also known as the hungry season or the period just before fall harvests come in).

FOOD SECURITY ($2,552.34)

09-FS-01    Women’s Agroforestry Moringa Project – Peace Corps Grant ($215.00) 

Moringa oleifera is a fast-growing, leafy tree native to India. It has been planted around the world and has successfully improved the diet in many cultures. Moringa trees are particularly useful in the dry climate in the north of Mali. They require little water, enjoy the sun, grow quickly, and the nutrient-rich leaves are a good supplement to the available diet, which lacks fruit and vegetable (protection foods). We like working with moringa because you see results quickly and the Koyra Borey in general are keen on trees. Further, the “windi bundu”, as it is known in Niger, is already accepted into the diet of the Zarmey, so the Koyra Borey are more receptive to adopt it.

Led by Peace Corps volunteers Kate Lechner and Sarah Mangrem, The African Sky project to embolden a Woman’s Association in Gargouna, Mali, West African has come to a close. The main objective, to improve the woman’s garden is currently in its second year and has been a great success. For the 2008 planting season, from November through February, the Woman’s Association

of Gargouna improved the communal garden by purchasing watering cans and fencing. Additionally, much hard work was necessary to prepare and improve the soil through composting. A number of vegetables were planted, including lettuce, okra, onions and tomatoes, and most proved to be successful.

This year, for the 2009 planting season the Association is again planting many of the same vegetables, in addition to several new verities such as beans and peas.

This project has had great results in Gargouna. All produce grown in the garden is either sold in the local market, thus providing nutrition to the community or divided among the woman, supplying nutrition directly to their families. In turn, all income earned from selling the produce, tomatoes being the most popular, was invested in the Association. In years to come part of this money will be used to purchase more seeds, making the Associations gardening endeavor sustainable. Additionally, Moringa tree seeds and plastic sacks were purchased, and a small tree nursery was begun. These trees, approximately 150 saplings, form the core of a ‘food bank’ of edibel and nutritious foliage. Thus far, the food bank has been harvested once. At that time the leaves were dried, cooked and mixed with cassava shavings and peanutbutter to make a healthy snack Reception was excellent and intrest in Moringa is growning in Gargouna.

 09-FS-02    Rebecca’s Chicken Project – Peace Corps Grant ($58.00)

 On April 22 Peace Corps Volunteer Rebecca Edwards co-hosted a chicken raising workshop in the Guena community on Mali. Twelve Farmers from four different villages (Guena, Ka Ka, Kalassa, and Makandiana) joined together to learn techniques for improving household chicken raising practices. The following report written by Rebecca describes the successful workshop.

The Guena Chicken Raising Workshop was a terrific success. We had 12 participants (all farmers) representing 4 villages (Guena, Ka Ka, Kalassa & Makandiana). Yakouba Kone, my Peace Corps Technical Trainer, launched the workshop with an informative session on proper housing, feed, medications and vitamins for chickens. We walked over to one of the Guena farmers’ chicken houses where Yacouba pointed out its positive aspects as well as a few improvements that could be made. He also demonstrated how to give immunizations against New Castle disease, and then workshop participants practiced giving immunizations to their own chicks (which they had brought from their household farms).

 The village of Guena hosted the workshop, and the community contributed 25kg of chicken feed (a blend of corn, cotton cake, fish meal, millet chaff, millet, bone meal and salt). They also provided lunch for the participants and workshop leaders and speakers. One participant pointed out that there is a great local demand for chickens, particularly during the holidays like Seliba and New Year’s Day. Participants’ communities are only 55 kilometers from the capitol city Bamako, and Bamako people often drive out and pay upwards of 5000 CFA for a chicken (nearly twice the price paid to/from local citizens).

The impact of the workshop was made evident when less than a week following our sessions, one of the participants returned to Guena to report that he had started building his own chicken house based on the information he had learned at the workshop

09-FS-03    Emergency Food Crisis Funds & Prevention ($1,242.60)

Unpredictable rainfall, endemic poverty, family illnesses, and challenging growing environments sometimes create food shortages and insurmountable debts for farming families who depend on agricultural production for food and trade money. Every year, African Sky Directors Scott Lacy, Yacouba Sangare, and Tamba Toure consult with elders, village leaders, and youth leaders (male and female) to discuss critical issues confronting the Dissan (Bougouni Region) and Markala (Segou Region) communities. These discussions help African Sky distinguish households in extreme crisis suffering from food insecurity. In 2009, African Sky provided critical assistance to eight farming families suffering from food insecurity.

09-FS-04    Bourama Kassogue – Small Assistance Grant ($21.74)

In summer 2009, while Executive Director Scott Lacy and his interns from Emory University were settling down for the evening meal at the home of our Country Director Tamba Traore, a young man from Markala, Mali arrived with a proposal. He presented Lacy with a bag of Dogon bracelets and artifacts passed on to him by his grandmother. The man, Bourama Kassogue lived in Markala, but his family is from the Dogon area in northern Mali. Kassogue said he wanted to sell the artifacts because his job as a night watchman did not pay enough money to maintain his household. Lacy reviewed the items Kassoge brought to sell, and realized these items were in fact invaluable historical artifacts that could easily be placed in a museum. Lacy analyzed the pieces, asked a few questions, and then led an informal archaeology workshop to demonstrate the value of the items to Kassogue and to the Emory student interns. Once Kassogue understood the value of his bracelets and artifacts, Lacy explained that Kassogue could place the items in a regional folk museum, which would pay for the right to hold and display them without terminating Kassogue’s rights to reclaim them. To encourage Kassogue to keep his family heirlooms in his family’s possession, Lacy offered him a small enterprise grant. The grant, which Kassogue accepted, provided enough money to purchase some basic supplies to start a simple business selling small wares (candies, pens, tea, sugar, powdered milk, notebooks, etc.) outside his home. Many people sell small wares or foods outside their households to earn money for family needs. Country Director Tamba Traore worked with Kassogue to mentor his record keeping and business practices. Lacy and Traore promised Kassogue to re-invest in his small business in six months if Kassogue agreed to keep good records of how he managed his first small enterprise grant.

09-FS-05    Goats, Chickens, & Grain – Giving Tree ($1,015)

 Donors at our annual silent auction donated funds to deliver education-oriented gifts to deserving students and teachers in Mali. This year, through the giving tree program African Sky purchased 52 chickens, 10 goats, and 1 ton of sorghum as direct donations to farming families in need. Elders in Dissan helped us identify families who could best benefit from these gifts, and the Dissan youth association helped African Sky source and deliver these donations.

COMMUNITY HEALTH ($4,267.09)

09-CH-01   Well for Welentiguila   ($1,263.41)

In Summer 2008, Emory University business student Stephen Lee walked into the office of Scott Lacy, African Sky’s Executive Director. Lee introduced himself and explained that he wanted to work with African Sky to implement a high-impact project in Mali. Lee and Lacy discussed Lee’s interests and the history of African Sky projects, from which Stephen identified his vision for his own project. Stephen decided that he wanted to raise and donate the funds necessary to dig and install a well for a community that needed one.

African Sky Country Director Tamba Traore surveyed dozens of villages north of the regional capital Segou and identified Welentiguila as a terrific partner for Stephen’s well project. Welentiguila needed a well for its primary school because students had to walk over a kilometer away to find the nearest water source. After an initial feasibility study, African Sky hired a team to install a well for the Welentiguila school.

In January 2009 Stephen traveled to Mali as an African Sky Citizen-Scholar Intern. He visited Welentiguila with African Sky leaders and following a special ceremony to launch the project, Stephen was given the honor of breaking ground for the new well. Several months later, three additional interns from Emory University travelled to Welentiguila with Scott Lacy and Tamba Traore to dedicate the completed well. The children of Welentiguila waved American flags and cheered to welcome the African Sky delegation to the well dedication ceremony. Following several speeches and the ceremonial pulling of the first pale of water, the entire village treated the African Sky visitors with a series of dances and mask performances. Today the well serves approximately 300 students and teachers every day. Visit www.africansky.org to watch a digital video that documents Stephen’s project, and treat yourself to a glance at Welentiguila’s amazing mask performances, dancing, and drumming.

 09-CH-02   ABEF Women’s Association ($984.68)

 On his first visit to the Markala community near Segou, Mali Executive Director Scott Lacy met with the leaders of ABEF, a self-advocacy and micro-enterprise group of local women. ABEF president Cecile Kiye presented Lacy with a comprehensive proposal and budget to launch a soap making enterprise that would be operated exclusively by ABEF members for income generation. African Sky funded their proposal with a modest start-up grant, and within a few months Country Director Tamba Traore reported that ABEF had already produced two batches of soap and reinvested their profits to bolster their production. But the soap-making enterprise soon transformed into a new and more profitable business.

The women of ABEF proposed a transition from soap making to peanut butter production. They discussed the idea with African Sky leaders, who reminded the women that they were encouraged to do with their profits whatever they saw fit. As a result, the women closed down their soap making business and started making and selling premium peanut butter. Their strategy was straight-forward. The ingredients to make soap were expensive in Markala because some of them come from far away. Conversely, Markala and nearby communities grow plenty of peanuts. ABEF started purchasing peanuts from local producers, and they used past soap profits to start buying basic equipment to make large batches of peanut butter.

In 2009 African Sky assisted ABEF with their transition to peanut butter production. We provided two small enterprise grants to invest in their new business ($711.16 in January, and $273.52 in July). The women used their grant money to purchase better equipment for making peanut butter including durable tubs, an iron barrel spit to roast the peanuts, a quality scale to weigh and sell the finished product, and more. Today, ABEF meets approximately once every 4-6 weeks to make peanut butter, some of which they bring back for their families, the rest of which they sell to neighbors and others. Because ABEF uses only high quality peanuts, and because their prices beat local market prices for peanut butter, their customer base is growing faster than their production rate! ABE members report that they are using their personal profits to pay for their children’s school expenses, their family’s food, and for personal needs including soap, clothes, medicine, and tea.

 09-CH-03   Jigiya Disability Self-Advocacy ($439.56)

 It was the inspirational members of Jigiya, a self-advocacy organization that first brought African Sky to Markala. This organization, Jigiya, provides friendship, support, medical advice and emergency funds, small enterprise micro-loans, and technical training and educational opportunities. The organization is entirely self-managed through elected leaders. To help defray administrative costs such as providing transportation for members to come to meetings, renting chairs for meetings, emergency medical costs, etc., African Sky provides small assistance to Jigiya. In 2009 African Sky donated $439.56 to the Jigiya treasury in two payments, one in January and one in July. These funds subsidize member dues payments to encourage full participation from local people with disabilities, regardless of income/financial resources.

 09-CH-04   Hand Washing Station – Peace Corps Grant ($140.00)

 For several years, African Sky has supported the efforts of Peace Corps volunteers working in Mali. Of the several Peace Corps projects African Sky sponsored in 2009 was volunteer Eryn Gaul’s initiative to create a hand washing station for the school in his host community. Like all Peace Corps volunteers who receive funding from African Sky, Eryn developed a comprehensive project proposal and a line-item budget. The hand washing station was a fast and efficient way for Eryn to complete a project with the potential of improving chilldren’s health in his host village. As a water and sanitation volunteer, Eryn created a hand washing station that will last long after his Peace Corps service.

09-CH-05   Bamako Women Soap Makers ($22.08)

 While walking through one of the many markets in Bamako, Executive Director Scott Lacy met several women who were selling soap. Upon hearing their story, Lacy gave the women a small enterprise grant to encourage their modest collective soap making operation. The women live and sell their soaps in Sikoroni, an impoverished section of Bamako (Mali’s capital city) which is off the track of most tourists and passers by. African Sky invests in women’s cooperatives because when we provide resources for women’s groups those resources get passed on to their families and communities. While we provide significant support for rural women’s organizations, our small donation to this Bamako women’s group was simply a small gesture of appreciation for a group of women running a soap cooperative on their own.

 09-CH-05   Malaria Prevention, Bamako ($100.00)

In Mali, when the annual rains mark the beginning of the planting season, they also mark the beginning of the malaria season. Malaria carrying mosquitos reproduce in pools of standing rain water, and they spread this debilitating disease throughout the population. When the malaria season starts, it impacts the oldest and youngest community members. As the hungry season (time just before the harvest when the previous year’s food supplies are at their lowest) approaches, the elders and youngest children become the most vulnerable community members, and malaria can become a death sentence. Scientists are working on vaccines for malaria, but until a vaccine is available, preventative measures such as bed nets are the most effective means to protect community elders and infants. As such, in 2009 African Sky purchased rolls of screen for covering windows, bednets, and courses of artiminisen-based malaria medications for distributing to at-risk elders and nursing mothers who cannot afford these preventative measures on their own.

09-CH-07   Emergency Health Crisis Family Funds ($209.44)

Like families in North America, Malian families can be destroyed by the economic impact that results from a family member suffering from a major medical crisis. In Mali, if you can’t afford to go to a hospital or clinic, you do not get to see a doctor. Worse yet, those sick people who do get to see a doctor seldom have the money to pay for necessary prescriptions or follow-up procedure. African Sky developed a small emergency health crisis fund to assist families in severe crisis due to a medical problem that can be addressed with a small influx of cash. African Sky offers this assistance through recommendations from village elders in our partner communities. In 2009 African Sky assisted a young boy who whose father passed away because the boy was suffering from debilitating abdominal pains. Through a low-cost body scan, doctors ruled out a hernia and appendicitis; instead they discovered a parasite that was easily treated by oral medication. In addition, the 2009 emergency medical crisis funds also provided medical care and transportation money for several infants and nursing mothers in the Dissan community.

09-CH-08   Spirulina Farm, Sansanding  ($109.41)

On a routine visit to meet with the local government official for the Sandanding region, African Sky Executive Director Scott Lacy and African Sky Country Directors Tamba Traore and Yacouba Sangare noticed a strange business operation next to the official’s office compound. The operation was a business to produce spirulina for selling to local communities. Spirulina is basically green algae known to have positive nutritional and health effects for humans. In fact, North Americans spend millions of dollars a year buying spirulina supplements and getting spirulina “boosts” in their favorite smoothies.

After receiving a tour of the spirulina facility, the owner-director brought the African Sky delegation to his office to view samples of his product through a microscope. After growing the algae in specially designed tanks (see photos below) with mechanical paddles to circulate the water, the spirulina is harvested, dried, quality tested, and then packaged for sale. African Sky purchased a full box of spirulina packets and distributed them throughout our partner communities. Families in our partner communities are testing spirulina as an additive in local recipes. We look forward further testing the efficacy of Mali-produced spirulina to improve nutritional intake and health for vulnerable subpopulations such as elders, nursing mothers, and infants.

A Note on Spirulina:

Spirulina has been harvested as a food and dietary supplement for centuries throughout the world. To the east of Mali in Chad, for example, spirulina is dried into cakes (called dihe) that are later used to make sauces for meals. Whether spirulina is harvested from ponds and lakes, or if it is cultivated at a facility like the one we visited in Mali, it is a remarkable source of complete proteins (proteins with all essential amino acids); vitamins A, B, C, D, and E; potassium; and a host of essential minerals.

09-CH-09   Sweet Sorghum Project ($49.23)

African Sky proudly launched a new collaboration with Engineers Without Borders at University of California, Santa Barbara (EWB-UCSB). Professionals as well as the graduate and undergraduate engineering students from EWB-UCSB are partnering with the women’s association of Dissan to develop a sweet sorghum press to express sorghum juice, from which molasses can be produced to sweeten and add nutritional value to household porridge. In 2009 African Sky worked with the women of Dissan to conduct preliminary variety testing to evaluate a half dozen types of sweet sorghum seed. Sweet sorghum is a source of calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, and antioxidents. Prior to the widespread manufacture of vitamins pills and smoothie supplements, US doctors sometimes prescribed sweet sorghum syrup as a home-style vitamin supplement.

During this first phase of variety testing, the women’s association will identify the most vigorous and juice producing plants/seed. Meanwhile EWB-UCSB wil design and create a prototype press. Eventually the Dissan women will test the press and assess whether or not sweet sorghum syrup production could be a worthwhile collective endeavor.

09-CH-10   New Bathroom Construction for Dissan School ($924.28)

The first school that African Sky built was in Dissan, Mali. The Dissan school is in full operation, and student enrolment is near full capacity, and growing. With the school completed, and with various student and teacher support through African Sky partnerships with US schools, the Dissan School has been running smoothly and Dissan students are doing exceptionally well on their end-of-year examinations. While we have worked with the Dissan community to fulfill most of the needs expressed by students and teachers, in 2009 we completed the last major piece of the Dissan School project. We built a new, more sanitary, cement latrine with separate facilities for boys, girls, and teachers. Dissan’s School Director Zu Kone supervised the construction of the latrine.

09-CH-11   Rural Pharmacy Health Supplies ($25.00)

Since our first year, African Sky has collected and distributed basic medical supplies to our partner communities in Mali. Various individuals, churches, and community groups have donated supplies such as first aid kits, aspirin, antibiotics, gloves, and medicines, which African Sky delivers to rural villages

throughout Mali. In 2009 African Sky Founding Director Chris Lacy forged a new partnership between African Sky and MedWish International to bolster our rural community pharmacy project. Now, after paying a $25 administrative fee, MedWish International provides us with a whole host of medical supplies and equipment. Each January African Sky will deliver supplies acquired at no cost through MedWish International based in Northeast Ohio.

COMMUNITY ARTS ($5,754.98) 

09-CA-01   Cotton Spinning Wheels – Peace Corp Grant ($830.00)

Unlike any other Peace Corps volunteer with whom African Sky has had the privilege to work, Monica Garcia is unique. She approached African Sky with a project proposal, but instead of asking African Sky for money she asked if African Sky could help her raise the money herself (through family and friends).

Monica sent out a compelling letter to her friends and family to raise project funds through African Sky. She was so successful that she surpassed her goal by just over $300! Her funds were used to purchase cotton spinning wheels for the women of Kamona, and she used her surplus funds to complete additional projects that are now complete, but reported in African Sky’s 2010 fiscal year (school pump repair and school mural project).

09-CA-02   Sewing machine for Jigiya ($0)

In 2009, students from Emory University’s chapter of Nourish International raised funds to help launch African Sky’s new micro-enterprise that is producing medical scrubs in Mali using Malian textiles. The Emory students travelled to Mali to help start the scrubs program, and they purchased treadle-operated sewing machines in Georgia using grant money from the Pat Tillman Foundation through President Clinton’s Global Initiative program. While most of the sewing machines and materials were placed in Bamako for the African Sky Scrubs tailors, the Emory students deposited one machine in Markala, Mali to test the idea employing tailors with physical disabilities. African Sky works directly with Jigiya-Markala, a self-advocacy group for Malians in Markala living with physical or developmental disabilities. Several Jigiya members are tailors, so the Emory students left one of the African Sky Scrubs sewing machines with Jigiya so its members could practice sewing scrubs. Now the machine remains in Markala, and the Jigiya tailors are using the machine to make a living through clothes repairs and tailoring new clothes. In addition, the Jigiya tailors are training to become part of the African Sky Scrubs Tailoring Cooperative.

09-CA-03   Dissan Women Soap Makers’ Supplies ($203.31)

 Every month, the Dissan Women’s Association meets to discuss their common interests and dreams for the future. Many of the women work together in small groups to grow crops like rice and peanuts, which they sell to raise money as individuals and as a collective. Sometimes the money these women raise goes toward personal purchases such as cloth to make new dresses for a holiday fete, or other times the money goes toward a more community oriented cause such as emergency assistance for a family in need.

For several years, the Dissan women have been making soap to use in their households. They typically meet three or four times a year to make soap together. Making their own soap helps save money that these women might be able to use for other important necessities and/or investment. In 2009 African Sky met with the Dissan Women’s Association to discuss their operations, and we found that the women were in need of some basic supplies and materials that could make their soap making enterprise far more efficient and healthy.

African Sky presented the women’s group with a special donation to help them purchase rubber gloves, soap making ingredients, and three strong mixing tubs made from recycled plastics. African Sky Country Director Yacouba Sangare works with Food Security Program Director Burama Sangare to provide accounting and transportation assistance to the woman’s association throughout the year.

09-CA-04   Karamoko Sangare Electricians Kit ($112.75)

While on one of our visits to Markala, one of African Sky’s primary partner communities, we met a local electrician who operated out of a small storage closet on the only cement road through town. His name was Karamoko Sangare and he can repair nearly anything you give him. His primary work brings back to life non-functioning televisions, DVD players, radios, cassette players, and speakers. His supplies closet is stacked with old electronics, a source for spare parts. People like Karamoko keep radios and televisions running longer, and they reduce e-waste in landfills via recycling and repairs. In 2009, African Sky presented Karamoko Sangare with some basic, yet high-quality electrician’s tools including a tool belt, voltage meter, solder iron and solder, and more. Karamoko used his new equipment to increase his business by repairing and selling discarded non-functioning electronics. His work not only recycles electronics and parts, but it also provides a low-cost source for poor local residents seeking radios (and sometimes a television); radio is a critical information resource for rural and impoverished Malians, most of whom do not have a television.

09-CA-05   Jigiya Dancers and Drummers ($22.08)

Jigiya is a self advocacy group for Malians with physical or developmental disabilities. African Sky has supported Jigiya and Jigiya members for several years, and we periodically provide various assistance to help Jigiya leaders meet some of the needs of Jigiya members. One small direct contribution from African Sky to Jigiya was a gift to Jogoya’s performing arts group. This group drums, dances, and does mask performances for major events and celebration. From blind acrobats to dancers who dance on their hands and heads because the have no use of their legs. To assist the group following a performance to welcome an African Sky delegation in 2009, African Sky gave the performing troupe 10,000 CFA to cover the administrative costs and supplies.

09-CA-06   Medical Gloves for Markala Morgue ($0)

The morgue in Markala serves hundreds of communities, and the professionals who operate the morgue work tirelessly with modest resources. An African Sky intern from Emory University brought basic medical supplies to donate in Mali on behalf of her father’s medical practice. The intern donated two industrial boxes of medical gloves to the single mortician in Markala. After meeting the mortician and hearing about his limited resources, the African Sky intern chose to supply the morgue with surgical gloves. Based on the extreme need of the Markala morgue, African Sky discussed with the mortician ways that we may be of further assistance in the future.

09-CA-07   Musow Jigiw Women’s Association ($22.08)

Muso Jigi is an independent women’s advocacy organization operating in Markala, Mali a town about an hour north of the regional capital Sego (by bus, not donkey cart). Muso Jigi is a women’s cooperative that provides local women not only with the means to make personal income, but the group also provides training and solidarity. Muso Jigi enterprises include a tailoring cooperative, a dried foods manufacturing and selling operation, literacy and numeracy education, a cereal bank operation, and so much more. The inspirational successes of Muso Jigi led to the development of African Sky’s first ever “Mothers and Daughters Summit” for January 2011, an event that Muso Jiigi will host in Markala. In 2009 African Sky provided Muso Jigi with a social enterprise donation to support the organizations efforts to increase their production of local dried foods (tomato, onion, mango, etc.).

09-CA-08   Ton Ci – Community Group Mini-Grants ($66.24)

 African Sky provided modest community arts support funds to contribute to the collective accounts of performing arts groups who bring music and performing arts to their communities. In 2009 African Sky gave small support funds to the Dissan Hunters’ Mask & Drummers, the Welentiguila Ton Ci Mask and Drummers Group, and the Women’s Association of Diamona. African Sky awarded some Community arts support funds to the Diamona Women’s Association as part of a public performance when local drummers and mask dancers performed in honor of the women’s association in Diamona.

 09-CA-09   Garanke (Leatherworker) Youth Mentoring ($109.00)

 A couple years ago on one of his first trips to a community named Markala Executive Director Scott Lacy visited local artisans and trades people. While touring local workshops a young boy around 12 years old approached Lacy and gave him a hand-crafted wallet. The wallet featured traditional designs and a personalized front flap with Lacy’s Malian name printed on it. When Lacy inquired as to who made the wallet, the young boy smiled and said it was his handywork. When asked where he learned his excellent leather working skills the boy reported that his father teaches him leather working every day.

Country Director Tamba Traore explained to Lacy that the boy was an apprentice leatherworker (garanke), and that the boys father has been teaching his apprentice son how to make wallets, shoes, belts, and more. Because of the young man’s talents and his promise as a traditional leatherworker (an important trade in the domestic Malian economy), African Sky has supported the leatherworker and his son through a small enterprise donation to help them purchase supplies to increase their production for local markets. In 2009 African Sky gave the father and son leatherworking team another small grant to purchase a bulk load of raw leather and miscellaneous supplies.

 09-CA-10   African Sky Scrubs Project ($4,389.52)

African Sky Scrubs started as “Conscious Clothing” in 2004. African Sky Executive Director, Scott Lacy, worked with a California retailer to produce a test batch of custom shirts, which resembled sleeveless scrubs. Our retailer friend did not produce additional shirts beyond the test batch, so African Sky shifted its focus to feasibility studies for the production and marketing of medical scrubs made in Mali. To establish a clear brand and identify in our markets, we selected “African Sky Scrubs” as our brand name (a.k.a. AS Scrubs). In the spirit of social entrepreneurialism, African Sky works with Malian partners to generate service project funds through the production and marketing of medical scrubs made from authentic, vibrant Malian fabrics.

African Sky directors produced test batches of scrubs shirts and pants in January 2007, 2008, and 2009. Following positive feedback from donors and prospective clients, we produced a final test batch of scrubs in July 2009. The final test batch confirmed that our tailor partners have successfully met our concerns regarding quality control and consistent sizing. Beginning in September 2009, AS Scrubs is officially open for wholesale orders.

Over the past year, AS Scrubs received generous financial support and three student interns from the Emory University chapter of Nourish International (Kathleen Reiter, President). Additionally, Emory University students from the service organization SCEEN contributed insightful market analysis, preliminary product testing, and product packaging.

Generous support for this initiative was provided by a small grant from the Pat Tillman Foundation through the Clinton Global Initiative, and from proceeds of a remarkably successful campus fundraiser by the Emory University Chapter of Nourish International.

2008

EDUCATION ($2,085.00)

08-ED-01   Supplemental Teacher Salaries/Funds ($956.16)

Our first school has been in operation for several years now, and the African Sky family continues to support the students and teachers who use the school every day. In 2008, we provided support funds to the primary school in Dissan. These funds were used to purchase classroom supplies, three soccer balls, and support funds for teachers (petty cash for minor classroom expenses). As we complete our vision to build more rural schools, African Sky will transition some of its education programs toward supporting and enriching these schools. We are working with local officials from all of our selected school sites to arrange for government paid teachers in perpetuity; we have several such agreements already. In some cases we provide salary funds for a small number of teachers. When a classroom does not have enough students to warrant a government paid teacher, African Sky pitches in until there are enough students to get an official salaried teacher.

08-ED-02   Crayons and Self-Portraits from Florida to Mali ($0)

Students in Melanie McCartney’s art class at Good Sheppard Elementary School (Florida) reached across the ocean in friendship and shared self-portraits, crayons, and drawing paper for their Malian peers. African Sky transported and delivered the crayons and portraits to the Dissan Primary School. Volunteer undergraduate students from Emory University (Sam Sergay, Elyse LaFond, Rohit Malhotra, Jenny Jia) visited the Dissan school and distributed the donated crayons and portraits, one each per student. Southern Mali Program Director, Yacouba Sangore accompanied the Emory students and helped explain the “self-portrait exchange” project to Dissan students. The Malian students used their new crayons to draw self-portraits and pictures, which African Sky collected to distribute to US students (through our US Schools Program).

08-ED-03   School Facility Improvements ($271.91)

Upon building our first school in Mali, African Sky committed to a long-term relationship with the Dissan community and its school. This relationship includes regular contributions to support school upkeep and to ensure ample student materials and educational supplies. Every year, African Sky Executive Director Scott Lacy meets with all Dissan teachers along with village leaders to create a list of priorities for school investment and maintenance. Following these discussions in 2008, African Sky provided materials and community members provided the skilled labor to completely improve the school latrines. Students and teachers now have new, cleaner bathroom facilities while they are at school.

08-ED-04   Operation School Bag ($123.47)

In 2001, Lacy visited his former Art Teacher and family friend Judy Newhall at Riverview Elementary School. Following his presentation and discussion, Mrs. Newhall and her students corresponded with Lacy while he was on an extended field study in Mali. They sent letters of support, art supplies, stickers, pencils, and original artwork for Malian students. Meanwhile, California second-grade teacher Melissa Mallory worked with her students to send even more educational and art supplies. These early gifts to Malian students were the first stage in the development of Operation School Bag. Over the years, the Lacy family and several schools in California and Ohio have raised funds annually to provide school supplies for each student in the Dissan primary school. African

Shy purchases most of the annual school supplies in regional markets in Mali (to promote Malian merchants and to avoid costly international shipping rates).

08-ED-05   Adult Literacy and Numeracy ($733.46)

Even in villages with schools, many children simply do not have the opportunity to get even an elementary school education. It may sound harsh, but many children in rural communities must work to help produce food or other critical resources for their families. For those men and women who never had the chance to go to primary school, African Sky operates adult education classes in which trained, local instructors teach reading, writing, and basic math skills. The course is a four week course held during off-peak labor periods (after harvest, before planting). Students receive all course materials and supplies free of charge. The course is taught entirely in Bamanankan, the local language. In 2006 African Sky sponsored our first adult education courses, and in 2007 we funded two more. Because of the success and local demand for this course, we offered two additional classes in 2008. To date, over 150 adults, women and men, have completed the literacy and numeracy program. This year’s program served 70 students.

African Sky is working with Yaya Samake in Dissan to recruit and train additional teachers in order to offer this course in new locations throughout Mali.

08-ED-06   African Sky US Schools Program ($0)

Since he finished serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mali, African Sky Executive Director Scott Lacy has visited elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools to promote public service and to bring Africa into US classrooms. In 2008, Lacy visited four elementary schools in California, Florida, and Ohio. Teacher and African Sky Development Director Melissa Mallory organized the California visits and coordinated a coin-drive to support Africa Sky’s education programs in Mali, specifically Operation School Bag.

During our visits to elementary schools we visit individual classrooms and Lacy typically presents a 50-minute program that includes video clips and music from Mali, West African proverbs and stories, masks, and interactive games using original art created by Malian students. Our newest school partners at Keeth Elementary School in Winter Springs, Florida have quickly become central partners in our efforts to build schools in rural Mali. In 2008, Keeth Elementary Teacher Matt Sanders worked with fellow teachers and students to host a musical concert and auction (of African-inspired art by students}. Since then Mr. Sanders continues to extend the African Sky family into Florida and into US Schools. Our US Student Ambassador Corbin Wade accompanied Scott Lacy to Mason School In Akron, Ohio, where he spoke to the students about service and why he volunteers with African Sky.

We provide our school programs at no cost to the schools we visit nor to African Sky funds. All expenses for 2008 school visits were paid by Scott Lacy, Melissa Mallory, the Brad Cole Family, Matt Sanders, Chris Lacy, and Linda Peshina. 

FOOD SECURITY ($3,558.97)

08-FS-01    Gargouna Woman’s Association – Peace Corps Grant ($377.57)

The women of Gargouna, Gao Circle, Mali, in conjunction with Peace Corps Volunteer Sarah F. Mangrem, worked with African Shy to purchase garden tools and seed for their women’s association garden. Gargouna is located along the newly paved road south from Gao to Niamey, Niger. Starting in 2007, the Gargouna Women’s Association created a beautiful garden along the banks of the Niger River, and now it is flourishing with Malian staples like tomatoes, onion, peppers, and squash.

Mangrem works with the Gargouna Women’s Association, and she manages project operations. The Gargouna women used project funds to start a fruit tree orchard and to enlarge the group’s garden. The association has strong leaders, dues are responsibly collected and publicly recorded, and membership is growing. Mangrem reports that over the next year, the association will experiment with and learn about seed collection and storage. Additionally, besides bringing garden products into their own households, the women plan to sell some produce in local markets.

 08-FS-02    Gossi Tree Campaign – Peace Corps ($292.07)

 Rural Gossi is located in the Timbuktu region of Mali, around 150 kilometers southwest of the city of gao. The town has an ethnically diverse population of Tammsheq, Songhai, Arab, Bozo and Fulfulde people. Approximately 8,000 people live in the main town and another 12,000 people reside in the surrounding villages. The principal economic activities are herding, small commerce and gardening.

Located in the biologically rich region of the Ghourma, the unique and fragile ecosystem in and around Gossi is increasingly threatened by the growing population’s need for land and firewood. The Project de Conservation et Vulgarisation de Biodiversite de Ghourma et les Elephants (PCVBC-E) has already begun to educate local populations on the importance of conservation, but both the project and community members have identified reforestation as an unmet objective. Prior to the Gossi Tree Campaign, there was not a tree nursery in town, and many people in the community lacked the necessary resources to start and maintain a nursery, to plant and care for trees or to raise trees for commercial purposes. In the long term, the Gossi Tree Campaign will grow shade trees for local markets and meeting places.

Peace Corps Volunteer Natalie Grillon worked with a local agricultural agency, the Service de Conservation de Nature Agent and the Conseil de Biodiversite de PCVBG-E to coordinate and manage a regional tree campaign that included two representatives each, from 20 associations from the Union EFAF (a local collective of community associations). To launch the project and the nursery, Grillon and her co-coordinators organized a series of workshops on tree planting, composting, managing a tree nursery, ogre-forestry techniques, seed collection and storage, nutrition and moringa trees, and the PLASA method of tree planting (a method Grillon learned through her Peace Corps training). Each participating association paid 2000 CFA to join the campaign and workshops. African Sky contributed 61% of project funds and Gossi community members contributed 39% of funds.

After a series of nursery workshops over the course of a month and a half, participants organized and led their own demonstration workshops. These demonstration workshops took p(ace at homes, in the market, and in other public places. The participants planted 100 trees during the campaign. The youth of the community, represented by members of the environmental club, participated in the campaign by helping with tree plantings.

08-FS-03    Mandoli & Gossi Women’s Gardens – Peace Corps Grant ($424.46) 

The Women’s Association of the Village of Mandoli, Mali received 85,000 CFA from African Sky to purchase a Nafasoro Pump for the Women’s garden in the village. The pump, 50 meters of garden hose and 12 meters of plastic tubing were bought by Peace Corps Volunteer Christopher Bentley in Mopti, Mali. Pump and accessories were delivered to the village and the garden where it was assembled. In addition to the Mandoli women’s garden pump, one Nafasoro purnp was purchased for Jared Alden, a Peace Corps Volunteer in Gossi, in the region of Timbuktu. Alden received the pump and 35,500 CFA to purchase hose and tubing. Receipts for

A pump workshop was held in October to teach the women of the association how to use and maintain the pump. The women immediately started using the pump for irrigation of sweet potato and onion plots. Currently, approximately 20 women use the garden and the pump, and many more are now interested. Onions, sweet potatoes, peppers, hibiscus, lettuce and beans are now being grown in the garden; the Nafasoro pump has made this work easier and has increased the amount of crops that can be grown. According to Bentley, the women are very excited about the pump and they look forward to the prospect of small income generation by selling produce in nearby markets. An abundance of local fresh vegetables will also benefit the overall health of the community.

08-FS-04    Mango Trees for Somo – Peace Corps Grant ($289.46)

Based on the success of a local resident who has introduced mango trees into his household production strategy, Peace Corps volunteer Patience Nyako partnered with the this farmer and the Somo community to bring mango production to more village households.

The Somo student association worked with Patience to plant 150 grafted mango trees throughout the community. The group monitored the trees weekly for the first three months, then biweekly for the following three months, and then monthly for the following year. Community member participants paid 40% of project costs.

When the trees begin to bear fruit, they will provide income to participating families who will sell mangoes locally. Additionally, the village has no market and poor access to fresh fruits and vegetables, so having mangos available within the village will also improve the diet of families throughout the community.

08-FS-05    Emergency Food Crisis Support Funds ($2,175.41)

Unpredictable rainfall, extreme poverty, and challenging growing environments sometimes create insurmountable debts for farming families who depend on agricultural production for food and trade money. Every year, Executive Director Scott Lacy consults with elders, village leaders, and youth leaders (male and female) to discuss critical issues confronting the Dissan (Bougouni Region) and Markala (Segou Region) communities. These discussions help African Sky identify ans assist households in extreme crisis due to food insecurity. This year African assisted 19 households experiencing emergency food crises and/or debt crises from unpaid agricultural loans.

COMMUNITY HEALTH ($3,991.81)

08-CH-01   Jigiya Support Funds ($795.45)

Jigiya is a self-advocacy group serving people with disabilities in Markala, Mali. Jigiya provides four basic services for its members: micro-loans, emergency/crisis funds, vocational training, and medical/life skills advice. Many members may join Jigiya in hopes of receiving a micro-loan, but most members say they joined Jigiya for friendship and solidarity.

African Sky provides Jigiya with operating funds used for micro-loans for members. African Sky also provides funds for Jigiya meeting costs, transportation of members to meetings, an emergency/crisis funds. Markala English teacher Tamba Traore has mentored Jigiya since the beginning, and his generous spirit is a critical foundation of Jigiya’s success. In Fiscal Year 2008, African Sky contributed a total of 350,000 CFA for Jigiya operations and projects, cereal bank funds, group micro-finance funds, emergency relief funds.

08-CH-02   Rural Pharmacy Supplies ($202.70)

African Sliy purchases basic first aid and health care supplies for distribution in African Sky host communities. In 2008 David and Mary Harlow of Munroe Falls, Ohio organized a “pharmacy supply drive” with the help of the First Christian Church in Stow, Ohio. The Harlow’s collected bandages, scissors, aspirin, vitamins, and much more. African Sky purchased additional health care supplies and transported the Harlow’s donated materials for distribution in the communities of Dissan (Bougouni region) and Markala (Segou Region). African Sky volunteers organized all supplies into rural pharmacy medical kits containing bandages, thermometer, scissors, aspirin, children’s aspirin, children’s and seniors’ vitamins (for people with dysentery or malnutrition), anti-septic ointment, and more). The kits do not contain prescription or potentially hazardous medicines. African Sky has adopted this rural pharmacy supplies project as an annual tradition.

08-CH-03   Gender & Development Camp for Girls – Peace Corps Grant ($372.82)

A tremendously successful Gender and Development Camp took place in Kamona and inspired the dozens of middle school girls who participated. Members of the Kamona women’s association along with a few local men partnered with Peace Corps volunteer Christy Gillmore with formal approval from village leaders. After weeks of planning, the village doctor agreed to host part of the event at his office. Additionally, the village midwife allowed us to do other sessions at the maternity. The events featured invited guests and speakers and special skill-building workshops. The event took place on 26 March 2008 and included the following sessions:

  • shea butter and soap making workshops
  • an agroforestry training on moringa trees and their importance for women’s and children’s health
  • a discussion on girls’ and women’s health (child nutrition, birth control, STDs, etc.).
  • discussion on education and educational opportunities for women
  • a lively dance party and a tasty lunch for participants
  • the painting to two large murals (maps of Africa: one for the primary school, one for the secondary school).

In all, 45 middle school girls and 10 members of local women’s associations attended the day’s events and many other villagers gathered to listen in and participate. The celebration and dance that marked the end of the event was attended by hundreds of Kamona villagers.

08-CH-04  Access to Drinking Water – Well at Soumabou ($874.46)

In July 2008, Jigiya president Lamine started construction of a well at Soumabougou. During a 2008 meeting with local officials and advisors, African Sky selected Soumabougo as one of the ”10 Schools for 2010” villages. To meet an immediate need in the Soumabougou community, Mali Program Director Tamba Traore developed and managed the construction of a reinforced well on the site of the future elementary school. The African Sky family is eager to further extend our friendship to the people of Soumabougou; we thank the elders, leaders, and people of Soumabougou and Markala who have opened their communities and lives to African Sky.

08-CH-05   Med-evac and Medical Assistance – Peace Corps Grant ($721.92)

Returned Peace Corps volunteer Tappan Heher partnered with African Sky in 2007 to help his former host family rebuild their roof in Niono, Mali. And in 2008, Tappan worked with African Sky again to assist a woman from Niono who was suffering from complications due to diabetes. Tappan registered his fundraiser at GiveMeaning.Org, and his family and friends quickly answered the call to support this second initiative. In short, African Sky assisted Tappan with the raising and delivering funds to medevac Kadijata Djguiba from Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire to Bamako, Mali, where her family and Malian doctors could best attend to her health and welfare.

08-CH-06   Bara Community Tree Farm – Moringa 229.46

This project enhanced the nutrition of the community by introducing moringa leaf powder to be used in traditional sauces. Additionally, the project served as a sustainable fundraiser for the ASACO (a community health association). Previously, the ASACO operated without a formal budget and would frequently fall months behind on staff salaries; when a person pays 100FCFA (less than a US quarter) for vaccinations, that money is taken directly to the store to purchase either bleach for sanitation or a pen for record keeping.

Bara volunteers set up a moringa pepiniere (nursery) and started a tree selling cooperative. Project funds were used for seeds, land, gardening tools, fencing, labor, and the materials to tum the leaves into powder. Moringa trees offer a particular benefit in the north of Mali as they are a hardy species that requires only minimal watering. Another benefit is that they grow quickly, offering fast visible results for the effort.

COMMUNITY ARTS ($4,026.29)

08-CA-01   Women’s Soap Makers Collective, Markala ($602.27)

In Spring 2007, leaders of Markala, Mali’s women’s association (ABEF) proposed a project during a visit with Executive Director, Scott Lacy. After developing a proposal and project plan with ABEF, African Sky provided capital funds to pay for materials to produce ABEPs first batch of soap. ABEF used project funds to produce soap that they used in their households and sold in local markets. They produced and sold over 300 bars of soap for their first batch, which provided enough cash to produce a second batch of soap. With some help from an additional modest grant from African Sky, ABEF has produced three batches of soap as of July 2008. Some ABEF soaps are now available for purchase at African Sky events including our Annual Silent Auction in Northeast Ohio.

08-CA-02   Leatherworker Small Business Support ($318.18)

During a visit to Markala, a young man aged 12 approached Executive Director Scott Lacy, and gave him a gift. It was a hand-crafted leather pouch/wallet with a cord for wearing it around the neck. The wallet was decorated with traditional designs and a personalized flap with Lacy’s Malian name printed on it. After inquiring about the young man and his leatherworking, Regional Director Tamba Traore explained to Lacy that the boy was an apprentice garanke (leatherworker) and that the boy’s father was teaching him to make shoes, wallets, belts, and other local products. Because of the young man’s skill and promise as a traditional leatherworker, African Sky gave the young man and his father a small grant to purchase materials and tools for their shop.

08-CA-03   Electronics Repair – Small Business Support ($318.18)

During a recent visit to Marakala, Executive Director Scott Lacy visited local artisans and trades people working in Markala. One man, Karamoko Sangare, sat in his shop, surrounded by recycled electronics and spare parts, televisions, radios, and other electronic equipment. Sangare transforms broken electronic equipment into working appliances, which local families and individuals purchase at affordable prices. Without a formal education in electronics repair, Sangare is a self-taught engineer that can take a few broken VCRs and create a new one that works; he does the same thing with radios and televisions. African Sky provided Sangare with small support grant so he could purchase tools, equipment, parts, and other resources to improve his business operations.

08-CA-04   Orchard and Garden for Orphans ($340.91)

During a recent visit to Markala, Regional Director Tamba Traore took Executive Director Scott Lacy on a tour of the community’s leaders, schools, and organizations. After a meeting with the local school teachers, Traore and Lacy visited a gardener named Paul. Paul moved to Markala a few years ago from Dogon country in the north of Mali. Since his first year in Markala, Paul has developed an extensive orchard and garden that is enclosed by walls in two separate compounds. Birds sing and dart throughout the trees as you enter the garden/orchard. The ground is delicately contoured with irrigation canals, which lead toward a central well. Paul grows mangos, oranges, grapefruit, limes, pineapples, melons, and a host of garden vegetables. At his side, his apprentices help

Paul manage the garden and trees. The apprentices are local orphans who have worked their way up through Paul’s informal orphan assistance project. Local orphans come to Paul every early morning in search of produce, which they purchase at a reduced rate to then sell for profit in local markets. African Sky provided Paul funds to help purchase garden tools and equipment including a foot pump for his well.

08-CA-05   Saraka for Fusini Sangare ($89.99)

In August 2007, Master Hunter Fusini Sangare passed away in Dissan, Mali. Sangare was an elder and village sub-chief, and he was respected for his hunting and farming talents. In 2002. Sangare honored Founding Board Member Ron Lacy by giving him Sangare’s hunter identification card. Upon Fusini Sangare1s passing, African Sky gave a small monetary contribution to the elders of Dissan; the elders used the funds as part of a community offering and feast in honor of Sangare and his achievements as a farmer and hunter.

08-CA-06   Women’s Soap Makers Collective ($602.27)

After seeing the material success of the Markala women’s soap making collective (ABEF), Regional Director Yacouba Sangare organized a second soap making collective with the women of Dissan. The collective elected officers and established a plan to produce soap for home use and for selling in local markets. With African Sky funds, Yacouba purchased soap making materials, and soon after, the women of Dissan were selling soap. As of July 2008, The Dissan women have produced two batches of soap; they financed the second production using profits from sales of the first batch. A limited number of Dissan gift soaps will be available at future African Sky events.

08-CA-07   Youth Association Operating Funds ($340.91)

In rural communities throughout Mali, youth associations provide social services to assist households in need, and to provide labor for community projects. Youth association leaders organize male and female members for work sessions, some as community service, some for a fee. The association raises money through agricultural and other pursuits to host celebrations and to contribute to village projects. The Dissan youth association contributes to community holidays and it provides financial assistance as requested by village or association leaders. This year, African Sky provided operating funds for the Dissan youth association to support their efforts to assist local households during the hungry season (before harvests).

08-CA-08   Elders’ Crisis Management Funds ($340.91)

In Mali, when individuals, households, and communities have troubles, people often consult village elders. Elders hold great responsibilities in rural communities across Mali and they serve as representatives, leaders, and adjudicators. In Dissan, when community water pumps frequently fell into disrepair, it was village elders who determined how to raise funds for those repairs and replacement parts. In an effort to provide some modest support to the community as a whole, African Sky provided Crisis Management funds to Dissan Quartier Chiefs and elders. The funds are managed collectively by the Quartier Chiefs, and they are used to meet unanticipated community needs that may arise throughout the year.

08-CA-09   Dissan Soccer Tournament 2008 ($298.50)

Almost every day, the young men and women of Dissan gather for a soccer match on the playing field in front of the Dissan School. On some occasions the games are spontaneous with teams assembled for a match or two. On other days, the Dissan youth association holds organized matches of Dissan’s two soccer clubs. In January 2008, African Sky hosted a regional tournament for the Dissan teams, who invited and hosted teams from neighboring communities. African Sky donated a set of durable soccer nets, for which the youth association quickly constructed new goal posts using local materials.

On the day of the tournament, one local team withdrew, so 5th and 6th graders from the Dissan School created a make-shift replacement team along with their fearless teacher Mr. Kone. The young students were barely half the size of their competition, but they were the inspiration and champions of the tournament. They played their opponent all the way to an over-time, sudden-death shoot-out. They lost that shoot-out, but every spectator flooded at the end of the game to lift up the young players. The tournament was a success, and each team earned a small trophy with an award of 25,000 CFA for the first place team; 10,000 CFA for second, third, and fourth place teams). Dissan youth association leader Soloba Mariko organized and officiated the tournament with assistance from Sedu Mama Sangare.

08-CA-10   Women’s Micro-Finance Program, Ghana ($774.16)

UC Santa Barbara Ph.D. Candidate Christie Dietrich recruited family and friends and raised $774.16 to fund a direct, grassroots micro-finance program for a local women’s group with whom she was conducting research. African Sky worked with Christie and her project donors to collect and then distribute her funds. Christie picked up the project funds and launched her project in March 2008. When we first formed African Sky, we chose our name because we had hopes that we might replicate in other countries our most efficient projects from Mali.

2007

EDUCATION ($866.94)

07-ED-01   Operation School Bag 2007 ($367.88)

In 2001, Lacy visited his former Art Teacher Judy Newhall and her students at Riverview Elementary School. Mrs. Newhall and her students corresponded with Lacy while he was on an extended field study in Mali; they sent art supplies, stickers, pencils, and original artwork for Malian students. Meanwhile, California second-grade teacher Melissa Mallory worked with her students to send additional educational and art supplies. These early gifts to Malian students were the first stage in the development of Operation School Bag. Over the years, the Lacy family and several schools in California and Ohio have raised funds annually to provide school supplies for each student in the Dissan primary school. African Sky purchases most of the annual school supplies in regional markets in Mali (to promote Malian merchants and conserve on international shipping)

FY 2007 Activities

  • Toured Dissan primary school with school Director and teachers
  • Discussed school’s past year and present needs
  • Donated misc. classroom supplies and materials (stickers, gradebooks, etc).
  • Developed budget and specific projects for 2007 and into the future
  • Pre-existing materials from previous Operation School Bag campaigns eliminated need for additional notebooks, pens, pencils

07-ED-02   School Improvement Grant ($171.75)

Upon building our first school in Mali, African Sky committed to a long-term relationship with the Dissan community and its school. This relationship includes regular contributions to support school upkeep and to ensure ample student materials and educational supplies. This year African Sky Executive Director Scott Lacy met with all five Dissan teachers along with several village leaders to create a list of priorities for school investment. For 2007 African Sky provided materials to furnish the school office and make it a proper working area for the school director. And in what has quickly become an annual tradition, African Sky also provided the school with three new soccer balls. Because of the rough terrain on the soccer field, soccer balls do not last as long as they might on more grassy fields.

  • Lock and door for school office 86.73
  • Table and chair for school office 40.82
  • Chalkboard Rulers (3) 12.24
  • Soccer Balls (3) and air-pump needles (3) 31.96

07-ED-03   Supplemental Teacher Salaries & Funding ($995.12)

When African Sky built our first school, we cooperated with Malian officials who provided promises for supporting the new teachers needed for the new school. The Malian government will provide teachers for every classroom in the schools we will build, as long as there are enough students to fill classrooms. In order to help build up student numbers faster, and to provide improved access to rural educational opportunities, African Sky subsidizes and sometimes provides 100% of teacher salaries for classrooms that do not yet have enough students to receive a government teacher salary.

This year African Sky paid the following salaries:

  • $465.14 – Adama Sangare (1st Grade Teacher), 9 months of service, 9/06-6/07
  • $317.98 – Mr. Cissa (Sixth Grade Teacher), 6 months of service, 1/07-6/07
  • Amounts based on 25,000 CFA/month rate 

07-ED-04   Adult Literacy ($612.24)

Even in villages with schools, many children do not get the opportunity to get even an elementary school education. It may sound harsh, but many children in rural communities must work to help produce food or other critical resources for their families. For those men and women who did not have the chance to go to primary school, African Sky operates adult education classes in which trained, local instructors teach literacy, writing, and basic math skills. The course is a four to five week course, and it is held during an off-peak labor period (after harvest, before planting). Students receive all course materials and supplies free of charge. The course is taught entirely in Bamanankan, the local language.

Last year, African Sky sponsored our first literacy and numeracy course in Dissan. After a successful test run, local demand for this course has grown in Dissan and in neighboring communities as well. For 2007 African Sky sponsored two sessions of the course, teaching over 70 adult students from multiple villages in southern Mali. Following two years of successful classes and students, African Sky will work with Yaya Samake to recruit and train additional teachers in order to offer this course in many locations throughout Mali. 

07-ED-05   SENE Student Drumming Group ($0)

In March 2007, Emory University undergraduate Sutton Freeman asked his African Studies classmates if anyone might be interested in creating an African drumming and culture group at Emory University. Three weeks later, seven students performed two West African djembe rhythms for their African Studies peers (with a set of borrowed drums). The group chose Sene as its name; sene means “farm/to farm” in Bamanakan. African Sky Executive Director Scott Lacy is advising the group as it seeks to explore African cultures through drumming. The founders of Sene expressed interest in working with African Sky during the 2007-08 academic year. In Fall 2007, the Lacy will donate (personal funds, not AS funds) 2-3 djembe drums to help this group explore and promote West African culture and drumming in the Emory community. 

07-ED-06   African Sky US Schools Program ($0)

Ever since he finished serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mali, African Sky Executive Director Scott Lacy has visited elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools to promote public service and to bring Africa into US classrooms. In 2007, Lacy visited three elementary schools in the Perris, California School District. The three Perris schools (Enchanted Hills, Railway, and Park Avenue Elementary) collected over $3000 to support Africa Sky’s education programs in Mali, specifically 10 for 2010 and Operation School Bag. Lacy presented six, 50-minute programs that included video clips from Mali, West African proverbs and stories, masks, and an interactive game using original art created by Malian students.

Lacy also facilitated an initial exchange of letters and drawings between Tallmadge Middle School (Ohio) students and students from Dissan. This exchange was organized and led by African Sky U.S. Student Ambassador, Corbin Wade. 

FOOD SECURITY ($866.94)

07-FS-01    Farmer Rain Gauges – Farmer Support ($5.42)

Two households in Dissan requested rain gauges for their fields. Several households have been monitoring annual rainfall since 2002. Measuring and recording local rainfall is critical for some farmers who use the information to manage their annual food production. Farmer rainfall data can also serve the interests of scientists and plant breeders working to alleviate hunger and poverty in Mali.

07-FS-02    Family Farm Crisis Grant ($861.22)

Unpredictable rainfall, extreme poverty, and challenging growing environments sometimes create insurmountable debts for farming families who depend on agricultural production for food and trade money. Every year, Executive Director Scott Lacy consults with elders, village leaders, and youth leaders (male and female) to discuss critical issues confronting the Dissan community. These discussions include distinguishing households in crisis. In 2007, Dissan elders asked African Sky to assist two households experiencing emergency food crisis and/or debt crises from agricultural loans.

  • Sedu Sangare Ka Du: toll roofing for house for Ba Keita and Fatimata Samake
  • Abu Sangare Household Food Assistance
  • Budgets developed by Sedu Mama Sangare and Burama Sangare
  • Burama Sangare dispensed funds and monitored project completion Two households in Dissan requested rain gauges for their fields. 

COMMUNITY HEALTH ($3,182.97) 

07-CH-01   Malaria Prevention ($504.19) 

Currently, mosquito-born disease kills nearly one million people annually on the African continent–one child every 30 seconds–and these diseases cost African economies an estimated $12 billion (Herald Tribune/Associated Press, 25 April 2007). While the World Bank, the African Union, the World Health Organization debate bringing back DDT and other strategies to reduce malaria infections and other mosquito-born disease, African Sky will provide mosquito nets to community elders who can distribute them to pregnant and nursing mothers, as well as delicate or sick elders. Many organizations throughout the world operate similar projects as an immediate measure against the spread of malaria; African Sky will do its own small part in this complex and multi-dimensional battle against Malaria in Africa. The first delivery of bed nets went to Dissan, Mali, where village elders (male and female) distributed them in all five sections of the village.

07-CH-02   Rural Pharmacy Supplies ($338.18)

Even before African Sky existed, Executive Director Scott Lacy has delivered an annual shipment of basic medical/pharmacy supplies for the Dissan community. Lacy purchases a small “kit” for each of the five sub-sections of the Dissan community. Village sub-chiefs and their associates dispense the free medicine as needed in their respective sub-sections of the village. The kits typically contain aspirin, children’s aspirin, children’s and senior vitamins, bandages, anti-septic ointment, and more. The kits do not contain prescription or potentially hazardous medicines. African Sky has adopted this annual tradition, and in 2006 Christine and Kathy Lacy worked with Scott to create this year’s shipment.

07-CH-03   Engineers Without Borders Water Pump Project ($1,438.25)

For several decades, a local group of creative and industrious men have maintained the two manual water pumps that provided clean drinking water for the entire community of Dissan. Without the resources to purchase new equipment, the pump repair crew frequently makes the best of what it already has; old pieces and scraps are always guarded for use in future repairs. As the two Dissan pumps grew older, breakdowns increased; for the past ten years the team worked as hard as they ever have, but they could not keep more than one pump operational at any one time. With adequate water resources, one thing that prevented access to clean drinking water for Dissan families was obsolete pump equipment.

In January, Executive Director Scott Lacy facilitated a Mali site visit for the UC Santa Barbara Chapter of Engineers Without Borders. The EWB group, led by Dr. David Bothman visited Dissan and consulted with the village’s pump repair team. Following discussions related to pump use, mechanics, and problems, the EWB’ers agreed to join with African Sky to assist the village of Dissan by purchasing new pump heads, parts, and tools in order to rebuild as new, the two pumps.

African Sky paid travel arrangements and per diem allowances for two members of the Dissan repair crew to travel to Bamako, Mali with Scott Lacy, Dave Bothman, and Yacouba Sangare (Mali Project Director). In Bamako, the group consulted with a professional hydrologist recruited by Yacouba.

This eclectic team travelled to meet with Omar K. Kouma of Bamako, a well-respected merchant specializing in pump heads, parts, and equipment. The group sat together in small shop filled with dozens of pump heads, the walls stacked with various pump pieces and tools. Together the group developed a plan to rebuild both pumps in Dissan by replacing the heads as well as the inner workings of both pumps.

The group also discussed an appropriate preventative maintenance program, which the Dissan representatives subsequently shared with counterparts in neighboring communities. Previously, the Dissan team replaced pump bearings only after they stopped functioning; the idea of replacing a functioning ring of bearings in the name of prevention sounds far-fetched to someone without cash resources. The group concluded that with assistance from African Sky, the pump repair team would replace bearings in both pumps using techniques and equipment acquired during this impromptu pump repair conference. African Sky will provide replacement bearings for five years to monitor how this preventative maintenance regime prolongs pump life. The hydrologist consultant, David Bothman, and Oumar Kouma all agreed that this regimen should prevent many of the routine breakdowns experienced by the Dissan team.

Sedu Samake and Mamitu Sangare both escorted the new pump pieces and heads from the Bamako market all the way to Dissan (a trip involving a bush taxi, a bus, a donkey cart, and a lot of help). After discovering a problem with pump fittings and the new parts, Sedu and Mamitu returned to Kouma’s shop where they exchanged some parts for the correct pieces. One day later, the Dissan repair team had installed both pump heads, and for the first time in over ten years, the village had brand new pumps. In 2005 and in 2006 Dissan elders identified their aging pumps as the most critical issue facing their community…not anymore.

Special thanks to the technical and physical contributions of DaveBothman, the UC Santa Barbara EWB team, Oumar K. Kouma (Bamako), and the Dissan pump repair team.

07-CH-04   Family Medical Emergency Assistance ($667.66)

Every year, Executive Director Scott Lacy consults with Dissan elders, village leaders, and youth leaders (male and female) to discuss village priorities and issues. These discussions always include subtly distinguishing households in crisis; medical crises can cripple household economies forcing impoverished families to sell off livestock and grains, two pillars of household food security throughout rural Mali. Expenses from one medical event can undermine family food production for years into the future. In 2007, Dissan elders asked African Sky to assist three households experiencing emergency medical crises and/or crippling debt from recent medical treatments for a household member.

Notes:

  • Amadou Sangare, brain injury medicines and doctor fees (Abu Sangre’s son, Numusala)
  • Sedu Sangare, confidential family health crisis (Dugutigila)
  • Alu Sangare, doctor/hospital bills, pharmacy bills, emergency food for depleted family reserves.

07-CH-05   Supporting Disabled Malian Self-Advocacy Group ($234.69)

As a gesture of friendship, African Sky donated approximately $200 to Jigiya of Markala, Mali for use in administering and providing micro-loans for its members. In 1999, 12 people from Markala organized a self-help group for people with physical and/or developmental disabilities. By March 2007, membership had grown to 160 members; Jigiya members help each other with medical issues, micro-loans, friendship, and entrepreneurship.

African Sky partnered with Self Advocacy (SA) of Albany, New York and Peace Corps volunteer Stephen Andersen to support Jigiya and its vision of community development. Jigiya uses donations from SA to provide micro-loans for members with business plans (selling rice, sugar and coffee; animal husbandry; iron-working; electrical repair; sewing business; and more. In March 2007, Executive Director Scott Lacy discussed with Jigiya officers and members their vision for the organization and for their own individual lives. African Sky will continue to work with SA and Jigiya to achieve the following goals identified by its members: Additional loans for members; computers and computer training; embroidery machine; moto-taxi to transport members; operating funds: photocopies, transport for members, paper, chairs (rental) for meetings.

“One cannot imagine how far this money from Self Advocacy (New York) and Scott Lacy (African Sky) has been helpful. It’s like a heavy rain in a dry area that gives hope to all living beings. Jigiya members are very happy today. They can solve some essential problems without begging. They are getting less and less dependent upon relatives.” -Tamba Traore (advisor to Jigiya, 7 June 2007)

COMMUNITY ARTS ($3,409.44)

07-CA-01   Conscious Clothing Project ($289.79)

Malian farmers produce some of the world’s highest quality cotton, and at a fraction of the cost of producing cotton in the United States. Despite this production advantage, world cotton prices remain low due to US subsidies, complicating the economic lives of hardworking farmers who already live amidst endemic poverty. One way to assist farmers and the Malian cotton sector is to work with Malian farmers and artisans to create workshops to produce select cotton-based products. African Sky will assist farmers who would like to produce raw cotton and will assist farmers’ transition to pesticide-free and eventually certified organic cotton.

This year, African Sky worked with Malian textile merchants, several tailors, a leather worker, and two potential investor/partners to produce several samples of a shirt design, a pants design, and a pair of shorts. The purpose of this initial test-project was to create samples for critique and/or further production, to establish relations with skilled tailors, and to begin recruiting talented and energetic people to develop the “Conscious Clothing” Workshop. African Sky also contracted and received an order of hand-crafted wallets made of cattle leather. Totals for samples: 10 shirts, 8 shorts, 2 pants, and 36 wallets.

07-CA-02   Youth Soccer ($333.41)

African Sky purchased and delivered to the Dissan youth association, custom soccer uniforms with a Dissan soccer logo on the front, and player numbers on the back. The shipment included 15 red jerseys and 15 yellow jerseys, 2 goalie shirts, and a referee shirt. Once the youth association received the jerseys, leaders drafted a league of teams including coaches and trainers. The youth association will use the jerseys for special games, including the recurring matches between Dissan and other local teams. African Sky also presented the youth association with referee materials (whistle, stop watch, red/yellow card), training cones, and two new soccer balls (with needles for inflation).

In the future, we will provide nets for the team (they will construct and install goal posts). Youth leaders aspire to hosting a regional tournament of neighboring communities including male and female teams of various ages.

07-CA-03   Community Soccer ($99.01)

The youth association in Dissan (or principle partner community) is active in many ways. For one, they meet weekly to do collective service for families in need of a little help (preparing or planting fields, for example). They also provide labor for community projects such as clearing and repairing the forest paths that lead from Dissan to other villages and to the main road that leads to markets and big cities, namely Bougouni and Bamako. Yet, when they are not working for their households or their community, the youth association gathers to socialize and play soccer. While it is the young men who play soccer, young women as well as non-playing men gather at the impromptu soccer games to socialize. As a small gesture of appreciation for the role the youth association plays in the village, African Sky donated five durable soccer balls, two air pumps, needles, and a referee whistle along with two sideline flags.

07-CA-04   Community Radio – Radio N’pan ($210.20)

For several years, African Sky has supported non-commercial, community radio in the village of Dissan. Issa Sangare, also known as Radio Issa, is a talented and self-taught electrical engineer. He can repair any radio or cassette player, and he has operated a small village radio station periodically for several years. With African Sky support for specific equipment, Issa now regularly transmits music, discussion, and community announcements over the radio waves. Radio is the primary electronic media in Dissan and most of rural Mali, despite the fact that small, black and white televisions powered by car batteries continue to pop up one by one, year by year.

Community members typically come to Issa for help with issues involving broken radios, flashlights, and more. For that reason, African Sky provides Issa and the Dissan radio station with a basic, quality tool kit for electronics repairs. This year African Sky added a second new car battery to power the station, electric tape, a voltage meter, a crimping and wire-cutting tool, batteries, and a small grant to cover basic operating expenses.

07-CA-05   ABEF – Markala Women’s Association ($51.02)

While visiting Jigiya in Markala, Executive Director Scott Lacy spent some time with officers from a women’s collective in Markala called ABEF. The group’s leaders shared their business proposal, including a written version and budget, for a soap making enterprise. African Sky presented ABEF with a small ($51) donation, with which ABEF officers will refine their soap making proposal, generate soap samples, and otherwise “test” deas for the soapmaking cooperative. Lacy will visit Markala in 2007-08 to review ABEF’s proposal, and to consider investing in an African Sky-ABEF collaboration to launch a rural soap-making enterprise for women.

07-CA-06   Peace Corps Partnership Project ($2,525.02)

Tonight, all across the world there are Peace Corps volunteers eating dinner and sleeping with local host families. For many volunteers, host families generously provide companionship and emotional support, not to mention food, water, and language/cultural assistance. After developing meaningful relationships during their service, many returned volunteers never stop thinking about how they might continue to support their Peace Corps host families and communities. One such volunteer, Tappan Heher, asked African Sky to help him with a project in the community that hosted his Peace Corps service in Mali.

Tappan organized his project to provide a new tin roof to replace the deteriorating thatch roof on his host mother’s sleeping quarters (see Heher’s full description below). With the help of seemingly countless friends and supporters, Tappan raised funds by developing a temporary project website hosted by GiveMeaning.com.

On 12 June 2007, African Sky received a check for $2525.02 from GiveMeaning.Com. This money was the final total of all contributions raised through Tappan’s campaign on GiveMeaning.com. African Sky wired these funds to Niono via MoneyGram, a lower cost alternative to Western Union. Inspired by Tappan’s efforts and success, African Sky is developing new ways to work with Peace Corps volunteers (returned volunteers included) to support their projects and visions for Mali.

Here is the project description as presented by Tappan Heher on GiveMeaning:

My adopted Malian host mother from my Peace Corps years, Amou Guindo, just sent me a message via the current Peace Corps Volunteer serving in my former West African town, Niono, where Amou lives. Amou asked if I could send her $2000 to put a metal roof on a house she built last year. The roof collapsed during the previous rainy season (less expensive roofs in Mali are made of sticks, grass, and mud), and although Amou’s own house has roof she needs a new one for her grandchildren, who have recently come to live with her (their parents, my brother Ousmane and sister Tanti, are working for the Malian Army and at the university in Segou).

2006

EDUCATION ($1,446.60) 

06-ED-01   Adult Literacy Class ($312.87)

For one of our first projects, African Sky teamed up with Dissan resident Issa Sangare to launch a community-based literacy program for adults who never had the opportunity to attend primary school. Issa teaches his students using materials and methods developed by Malians to teach non-literate people to read, write, and do basic math in Bamanankan, the local language used across most of Mali’s population. With African Sky funds, we worked with Issa, his students, and some friends to repair a mud-brick building and establish a literacy classroom. We also purchased books, a chalkboard, personal chalkboards for student use, plenty of chalk, notebooks, pens, kerosene, and flashlights for students (many can study only at night when household work duties are not a distraction). The remaining funds were used to provide Issa with a modest stipend so that his students would not have to provide any fees or other payments for his work and dedication as the literacy program teacher and director.

06-ED-02   Operation Book Bag ($1,034.72) 

African Sky Executive Director Scott Lacy partnered with some of his African Studies students at UC Santa Barbara to organize “Operation School Bag” for the primary school in Dissan. With the help of students in the US, African Sky purchased school supplies and backpacks for every student attending Dissan Primary School. From pencils and crayons, to rulers, compasses, notebooks, and more, each student was provided with all the materials they will need for a complete school year. We purchased some of the school supplies in the US and others in a local market near Dissan.

06-ED-03   Teaching Supplies ($99.01)

In collaboration with Dissan teacher Zu Kone and the president of the school parents’ organization, African Sky provided the primary school in Dissan with a few items requested by the school’s teachers. Specifically, we purchased three cans of green “chalkboard paint” to resurface the school’s chalkboards, as well as a case of high quality chalk, and two soccer balls.

FOOD SECURITY ($150.00)

06-FS-01    Cereal Bank Donation ($150.00)

African Sky purchased 700kg of locally sourced maize and delivered it to Dissan elders to re-launch their community cereal bank. The elders sell the grain at cost to families who can pay, and they also provide maize at no cost for a small number of families who experience severe food and financial crises.

COMMUNITY HEALTH ($329.84)

06-CH-01   Rural Pharmacy Supplies ($329.84)

African Sky provided basic OTC medications, antibiotics, first aid supplies, and medications to treat malaria to establish a simple “free clinic” in Dissan. With local clinics and pharmacy too far away and too expensive for most families, Dissan residents can now visit a teacher who lives in the village and serves as a local health provider. He, along with two others (one who treats broken bones, and another who is the primary person for assisting with childbirth) share the rural pharmacy supplies, and they provide them at no cost to people seeking help.

COMMUNITY ARTS ($1,197.45)

06-CA-01   Community Radio Station ($269.60)

Local resident Issa Sangare s a self-taught electrical engineer and radio operator. He has been running a low-cost, village radio station for several years (Radio N’pan). He plays music and delivers announcements most evenings while people listen in while drinking tea and socializing. Issa used his African Sky funds to purchase a CD player, a new FM radio transmitter, and a car battery that he uses to power the station (he straps the battery to his bike and travels to a regional capital where he pays to recharge it when necessary).

06-CA-02   Elders’ Community Development Fund ($828.84)

African Sky is new as a community development organization, and we know we have a lot to learn from our Malian hosts and partners. As we build our organization in these early years, we are keen to explore ways to make the very most of our limited funds. In deference to the leaders and knowledge present in our primary host community, we met with male and female elders to discuss development priorities that are salient to their particular village. We learned that, like anywhere else, there are big and small challenges, and that these challenges change from day to day and month to month.

At this meeting, Executive Director Scott Lacy proposed to provide the elders with funds for helping to resolve future, unanticipated community problems such as repairing one of the village’s two manual water pumps. The elders agreed to use these funds only when there was wide agreement to do so. They also agreed to record every transaction as a means to help African Sky learn about the day-to-day challenges facing village leaders.

06-CA-03   Community Soccer ($99.01)

The youth association in Dissan (or principle partner community) is active in many ways. For one, they meet weekly to do collective service for families in need of a little help (preparing or planting fields, for example). They also provide labor for community projects such as clearing and repairing the forest paths that lead from Dissan to other villages and to the main road that leads to markets and big cities, namely Bougouni and Bamako. Yet, when they are not working for their households or their community, the youth association gathers to socialize and play soccer. While it is the young men who play soccer, young women as well as non-playing men gather at the impromptu soccer games to socialize. As a small gesture of appreciation for the role the youth association plays in the village, African Sky donated five durable soccer balls, two air pumps, needles, and a referee whistle along with two sideline flags.