Ouelessebougou Alliance Annual Report 2017 - 2018

Dear Friends,

It is my privilege to serve as Board Chair for Ouelessebougou Alliance and it is with pride I share our 2017 - 2018 Annual Report with you. This is a small but mighty organization. With the dedication and ongoing support of donors like you, we have seen steady change in the Ouelessebougou region of Mali, West Africa. From building schools to growing gardens, some of the poorest citizens are improving their lives and facing the future with hope. I invite you to take a few minutes and marvel at their success with me.

With gratitude,

Danene Torgerson, Board Chair 2018 - 2020

Our Mission

To work in partnership with local villagers to transform the quality of life in the Ouelessebougou region of Mali, West Africa by delivering sustainable programs in health and education.

Since 1986, Ouelessebougou Alliance has given Utahns the opportunity to serve a specific African community. Our supporters know their assistance goes directly to the people for whom it was intended.

Our Work in Mali

Our programs develop from the underlying premise that the citizens of Ouelessebougou will themselves identify the most crucial needs and locally viable and sustainable solutions, and then, when possible, provide the human and physical resources to satisfy those needs in an ecologically responsible manner.

"Because of our lasting partnership with the Utah Alliance, we are learning many things and it allows us to better take care of our families." - Health Agent in Djemene

In all our partnerships, we strive to follow these three core principles of development:

  • Ownership: participants are significant contributors
  • Sustainability: build capacity in individuals and communities
  • Accountability: programs and projects produce qualitative and quantitative results



Health Workers & Councils

  • 17 out of 25 villages have active Village Health Councils
  • 73 village health workers received training
  • 4 villages completed one phase of the Healthy Village Workshop
Village leaders on the Health and Education Councils joined together for a combined leadership training session.
"This is the best work you have ever done for our village. Without giving us things, you have taught us how to work as a village." - Village Chief in Djemene

Nurturing Nutrition

  • Over 80 women and their children tend to individual plots in the OA Women's Garden in Ouelessebougou
  • Two children's wells were constructed in the Famana School Garden
  • 56 women and over 75 children now work side-by-side in the Famana School Garden
Sida Doumbia lives in Famana with her husband and four children. Her husband is older and has a difficult time working so Sida works hard to help provide for their family. Sida and her three children tend to their individual plot in the Famana School Garden to grow healthy crops.
"The garden is the only solution I can use to get what I need for my family. We eat the healthy vegetables. I can sell the extra crops to pay the school fees for my children." - Sida Doumbia
Children's well in Famana School Garden

Disease Prevention

  • 1,182 mosquito nets were sold to the villagers for a subsidized cost of $1 USD
  • 394 families received training from Health Agents on proper use & disease prevention
Afou Samake is a mother of six from the village of Tamala. She and her children including younger daughter Kadiatou, sleep under mosquito nets each night to protect themselves from contracting malaria.
"I am grateful the Alliance provided us nets and taught us how to protect our children from malaria. We are now healthy." - Afou Samake from Tamala
  • 8,418 children ages 0 - 5 were vaccinated from nine life-threatening diseases
  • 1,427 expecting mothers received maternal immunizations

Days for Girls

  • 950 Days for Girls feminine hygiene kits were distributed in our partner villages
  • We launched our Days for Girls enterprise in Ouelessebougou - the first ever in Mali
  • 3 local women tailors are sewing and selling kits at the OA compound to provide more women and girls will sustainable feminine hygiene solutions
Our Mali staff and women tailors received training from Days for Girls Founder Celeste Mergens and staff from Days for Girls Uganda.
"The Days for Girls kit has helped us since we started using it. Before we would use cloth during our period cycle but it wasn't protecting us enough. During our period we would go in public but we were constantly embarrassed because the cloth we were using was not protective enough. Now that we have the feminine hygiene kits provided by the Alliance, we can go everywhere we want without being embarrassed." - Aminata Bagayogo

Specialized Health Care

  • Four cornea transplant surgeries -- the first in the history of Mali -- were performed on Amadou (age 3), Aminata (age 9), Djelika (42) and Mohamed (50).
  • 107 cataract surgeries, 2 pterygium surgeries and 15 yag laser procedures were performed
  • 1,087 eye exams were conducted
  • 350 pair of eye glasses were distributed
20 Utah doctors, medical professionals and volunteers donated their services at the Ouelessebougou Hospital
The Mali Minister of Health personally thanked the expedition team and looks forward to collaborating on future projects

A special thank you to our partner Utah Valley Eye Center and the expedition volunteers for their generosity.



  • 2,211 students attended our 12 partner elementary schools in 17-18 school year
  • 43% of students enrolled were girls!
  • All 12 schools have active Education Councils who work with the school, teachers and parents on literacy goals
  • 24 Education Council members attended a combined leadership meeting with the village Health Councils
"Our school has grown from 50 to 250 students. The Utah Alliance has contributed enormously to the development of our village." - Zan Samake, Village Chief in Djemene
Our education program makes it possible for students to attend school in rural villages

Neneko School Construction

  • Three new concrete classrooms were constructed at the Neneko school to accommodate increased student enrollment after the neighboring mine closed
  • 119 students attended school in the new classrooms
  • New bench desks, text books and school supplies were provided for the students
Mayor thanking the Utah donors who contribution to the construction of the new classrooms in Neneko.
"We lost hope. We did not have anybody to construct the school for us. Many NGOs promised they will construct them without success. Now God sent the Alliance to us one more time to provide three new classrooms for us. This year our children will study in peace.” - Fatoumata Traore, Neneko Mother

Effective Teachers

  • 24 village teachers received training on lesson planning, Bambara/French, literacy and mathematics
  • All village teachers received C.A.P. supervision and evaluation of their performance
  • 72 new teachers desks were distributed
We partner with C.A.P. (Centres d'Animation Pedagogique) from the Ministry of Education where Malian education experts evluate teacher performance and make recommendations for further training.
"Our teachers stay longer because the Utah Alliance invests in their training. The quality has improved." - Adam Aigara, Principal of Famana

Literacy Workshops

  • 288 students ages 14 and older completed the 3-month literacy workshop in 12 schools
  • 24 literacy teachers received training on lesson planning, writing and reading instruction
  • 24 new chalkboards were distributed for literacy workshops in 12 schools
We expanded our literacy workshops to include students ages 14 and older. This gives more opportunities, especially young mothers, the opportunity to continue their education after elementary school.
"I can manage my small business, keep records, write letters and help my children with homework. Literacy classes make me feel pride in myself." - Tenin Doumbia
Literacy is a valuable component of empowerment to break the cycle of poverty in regions like Ouelessebougou

Our Financial Report

We work hard to honor the investment you make in our programs. Our resources are spent to address the urgent and long-term needs of the villagers. Our donors can feel confident knowing that the assistance goes directly to serve the community of Ouelessebougou.

To view our audit and full financials, please visit our website.

This is all made possible because of people like YOU.

For 32 years, we continue our grassroots approach to support the villagers' efforts for sustainability because of our generous donors: people in our community who are invested in our mission and care about the welfare of our village friends in Ouelessebougou.

PTA Coordinator Heidi Poelman teaches the students about Malian culture at Brookwood Elementary's "Day in the Life of Mali" activity.

We are grateful to our corporate, community and school partners for making a profound impact in Mali.

We are grateful to our wonderful community of volunteers

We have an amazing support system of volunteers including our Board of Directors, Gala Auction committee, day of event volunteers and expedition teams. These dedicated individuals are the backbone of our organization. We simply can't thank them enough for all they do to support our mission!

Expedition volunteers often work 12 hour days to provide specialized health care to the villagers in Ouelessebougou

What's Next?

For 33 years, our momentum in pursuing our mission is motivated by the promise of a brighter tomorrow for the villagers of Ouelessebougou. In 2018 - 2019, we will continue to our grassroots approach to provide locally vetted programs that make a lasting impact for village families.

We will continue to invest in local training and leadership opportunities and sustainable projects. Our new project for the 2018 - 2019 program year will be partnering with the village of Bassa on a solar pump well and school garden. We will also focus on expanding our community partnerships both in the U.S. and in Mali. As part of this growth, we want to partner with more Utah schools

It's going to be a great year. Join us in making it possible.

Our Leadership

Board of Directors

Danene Torgerson, Board Chair*

Talatou Abdoulaye | Ryan Bonham | Bakary Camara | Paul Cazier | Carl Dempsey* | Alyson Deussen* | Jonathan Dudley* | Addie Fuhriman* | Jessica Kallin | John Lewis | Richard Loomis* Mike Maughan | Robyn Mock | Dr. Paul Olson* | Heidi Poelman | Richard Wilson

*Executive Committee Member

Mali Staff

Anounou Sissosko, Field Director | Teningnini Diakete, Program Coordinator | Boubou Traore, Program Assistant | Sekouba Traore, Groundskeeper | Modibo Doumbia, Night Guardian

Utah Staff

Judy Hut, Executive Director | Jen Beckstead, Finance Manager | Emily Redd, Outreach & Event Coordinator

Donate, Partner, Volunteer

Your contributions are critical for us to continue providing life-changing programs in Ouelessebougou. Please help us deliver lasting change by supporting our 18-19 program year. Your investment will bring hope and happiness to villagers today and in the future.

Stay Connected


FB: @ouelessebougou | Instagram: @OA4Mali | Twitter: @OA4Mali | YouTube: @OA4Mali LinkedIn: Ouelessebougou Alliance | #lifteachothermali

525 East 4500 South Suite F115 | Millcreek, UT 84107 | 801.983.MALI

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