Ouelessebougou Alliance Annual Report 2019 - 2020

From Our Board

Dear Friends,

We are pleased to present the Annual Report for Ouelessebougou Alliance. Your involvement and support have meant the world to us and our dear brothers and sisters in Mali. You’ll be pleased to read about the incredible accomplishments we’ve been able to achieve together.

The first and second halves of this last program year could not have been more different from each other as the global pandemic took over the globe. We were forced to hold our annual event virtually and missed seeing you in person but felt of your love and support just the same. Despite the challenges, this organization’s staff and volunteers maintained focus on our ongoing objectives while incorporating food assistance and other COVID-19 response activities to respond to the immediate needs in our villages.

I have immense confidence in the work this organization carries out and hope you feel the same. Without you, our ability to help support the people of Ouelessebougou would not exist. I encourage you to examine this report and consider providing ongoing support of the fantastic, lifesaving and life sustaining activities detailed herein.


Carl Dempsey, Board Chair 2020 - 2022

Our Mission

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

We are a trusted non-profit organization headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. We are the first Utah non-profit to work in Mali and the longest serving non-profit in the Ouelessebougou region. We are also one of the few international NGO's still working in the area with a local Malian staff.

The West African nation of Mali is one of the least developed countries in the world. Villagers in rural communities face daily challenges of extreme poverty. We are committed to working together to lift our village friends through a long-term development relationship.

Our Work in Mali

A large part of the Alliance's longevity is the establishment of lasting partnerships which empowers the villagers themselves to transform their communities. We focus on sustainable development which meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability for future generations to achieve self-reliance.

We work with villagers to teach principles for problem solving vs. fixing issues with temporary solutions. By providing sustainable resources and training, villagers can develop programs to alleviate poverty not only for today, but for the future.

Together we lift each other.

See how YOU made a difference.

This annual report reflects the impact we made in Ouelessebougou during our program year of July 2019 - June 2020.


Health Workers & Councils

Partnering with village health workers and councils ensures the success of community-based public health programs. Together we are supporting village health workers in their efforts to transform health outcomes and save lives.

  • 23 out of 25 villages have active Health Councils who lead their communities to achieve their health goals
  • 24 health agents are working to facilitate the Alliance's health programs in their villages
  • 46 village health matrons and apprentices received training on COVID-19 health prevention measures
  • 3 villages completed one phase of the Healthy Village Workshop
  • 53 birthing kits were distributed in the village of Farani as part of a pilot program, which provides health matrons training and supplies for their rural birthing centers
Birthing Kit Distribution in Farani
"We received training from the Utah Alliance. The birthing kits make our work more professional and protective. This is an excellent program that can change and save lives of women and babies, particularly in rural areas." - Madam Doumbia, Health Matron in Farani

COVID-19 Response

Weak health care systems, food insecurity and lockdowns have caused extreme hardship for Ouelessebougou. Together we are fighting the challenges of COVID-19 and supporting village families during the pandemic.

  • 70 village health workers received in-person health training from our Mali staff on COVID-19 prevention measures, which resulted in the education of hundreds of village families
  • Over 72 villages around Ouelessebougou were reached by Alliance sponsored radio spots that provided pandemic education, awareness and public health training
  • 1,000 face masks were distributed in partnership with the Ouelessebougou Youth Association
  • 30 bags of corn were distributed as an emergency food relief effort to Internally Displaced Families in the villages of Bassa, Solo and Famana in January
Our Days for Girls Enterprise Lead Ambassador, Mariam, made face masks to distribute for free.

What's Next? This fall, we have already distributed 250 bags of corn to the most vulnerable families in Ouelessebougou, which include single mothers, widows, elderly, Internally Displaced Persons and orphans. We will continue our efforts to fight food insecurity and improve public health.

Nurturing Nutrition: Gardens & Wells

Mali is in a nutrition crisis which is exacerbated by widespread poverty, drought and instability from conflict. Together we are fighting hunger through increased water access, nutrition training and community gardens.

  • 82 women are tending to family plots in the OA Women's Garden
  • Over 300 women and children are working together in our school gardens
  • Over 150 drinking or garden wells are being used and maintained by our 25 partner villages

What's Next? Construction has recently been completed on a pump well for the remote village of Faraba II. We are also in the process of finishing a new garden well in Sanakaroni. We are grateful to our partner LDS West Africa for making these projects possible.

Mosquito Nets

A bite from an infected mosquito can be lethal in a developing country like Mali. Together we are protecting village families from this life-threatening disease.

  • 1134 insecticide-treated mosquito nets were distributed
  • Over 1,000 families received training from Health Agents on proper use, malaria & disease prevention

What's Next? In our 2020 - 2021 year, we will increase our malaria prevention efforts and partner with leading experts from around the globe on an exciting pilot program in Ouelessebougou.


Only 45% of children in Mali receive all basic vaccinations and 14% do not receive any vaccinations at all, depriving them from protection from common childhood illnesses. Together we are saving lives by providing immunizations in rural communities.

  • 4,229 children ages 0 - 5 were vaccinated from nine life-threatening diseases -- 12,688 doses of vaccines were distributed
  • 3,703 expectant mothers received maternal immunizations -- an increase of 41% from 2018 - 2019
"Life has changed for us since the Alliance started the vaccination program. Our children's health has improved. Newborns do not die because their mothers are sick. God bless the Alliance for giving us good health." - Health Matron from Djenfing

Days for Girls

Inadequate menstrual solutions and education can pose a major obstacle for girls and women in Ouelessebougou. Together we are fighting period poverty through sustainable feminine solutions, women's health and awareness.

  • 790 Days for Girls kit were distributed in our partner villages
  • 650 kits were made at the OA compound to provide more women and girls with sustainable feminine hygiene solutions in the town of Ouelessebougou
  • 200 women and girls attended our first ever Days for Girls training and distribution at the OA compound
  • Our 2 first Days for Girls Ambassadors completed the training program and started their own sewing businesses
  • 2 new Days for Girls ambassadors are now training at the OA compound to learn how to sew DfG kits and teach about women's health
  • 220 young men at middle and high schools in the town of Ouelessebougou received Men Who Know training, a modified version of the Days for Girls health education, aimed at men. They also received kits with male hygiene products.
"I am so happy the Alliance taught me these skills. I am happy for this sewing machine for my business. May God bless the Enterprise program to be long lasting." - Mai, Graduated DfG Ambassador


Lack of appropriate sanitation infrastructures, hygiene and awareness lead to illness and disease in rural villages. Together we are improving sanitation and hygiene education for village families.

  • 12 village schools have latrines and proper handwashing stations
  • Over 2,000 students receive handwashing education in the classroom
  • 24 villages received additional handwashing and sanitation training to safeguard families during the pandemic
  • The village of N'Tentoukouro participated in a handwashing workshop led by Youth Ambassador, Emma Hicks
"Every villager must know how to properly wash their hands with soap and water especially now with the spread of the coronavirus. It is important the Alliance provides additional training because the villagers view us as trusted advisors and experts in health." - Anounou Sissoko, Field Director

Specialized Health Care

Malians lack adequate access to primary healthcare. The Alliance partners with local Utah medical teams to provide services that are either unavailable or too expensive to villagers. Together we are bringing health and hope to rural communities.


2019 marked the 30 year anniversary of when the Alliance first partnered with Utah medical professionals to provide critical eye care in Mali. For three decades, we have brought together surgeons, doctors, medical professionals and volunteers to partner with the hospital in Ouelessebougou.

Our committed partners at Utah Valley Eye Center coordinated its annual ophthalmology expedition in November 2019. Together they worked side-by-side with professionals from the Ouelessebougou Hospital to provide eye care and surgeries to Malians -- free of charge.

  • 1,034 patients were seen and received services
  • 2 cornea transplants were performed
  • 100 cataract surgeries, 8 pterygium surgeries and 32 other critical procedures were performed
  • 729 pair of prescription eye glasses196 sun glasses, 12 sports glasses and 2 BluTech glasses were distributed

A heartfelt thank you goes to Utah Valley Eye Center, Excel Eye Center, Alcon, Allergan and the many medical and expedition volunteers who donated their time, supplies and services.


Utah dentist, Tom Johnston, traveled to Ouelessebougou with the ophthalmology team to continue his work training and partnering with the Ouelessebougou hospital's dental team. Together they provided free dental services and procedures for villagers in need.

  • 105 patients were seen and received services at the hospital's dental clinic
  • 14 patients had teeth extracted in the remote village of Kaban

What's Next? We are seeking to partner with a Utah OBGYN medical team to provide critical surgeries including repairing prolapsed uteruses and fistulas in late 2021 - early 2022.


Our 12 partner schools faced unprecedented challenges during the 2019 - 2020 school year. 11 of our 12 partner elementary schools temporarily closed between January - June 2020 due to a country-wide teachers' strike and the coronavirus pandemic. They were unable to make up classes in the summer because of conflict from the Mali coup d'etat.

We were saddened to not be able to hold our education programs in their entirety; however, school is back in session and we are looking forward to investing in students in 2020 and 2021.


  • 2200 students attended our 12 partner elementary schools from October - December 2019
  • 276 of these students were from the school in Djemene, who completed the entire 2019 - 2020 academic year
  • 45% of enrolled students were girls!
  • All 12 schools have active Education Councils who work with the school, teachers and parents on literacy goals
  • 60 village teachers received CAP supervision and evaluation
Village teacher in Soumaya

What's Next? We are working with Education Councils on ways to improve student enrollment after the closures, which will include a school canteen program, scholarship funds and parent education.

School Spotlight: Djemene

Our partner village Djemene has an exemplary elementary school with our largest student enrollment: 276 students and 41% are girls!

Principal Samake

In 2019, the principal, Monzon Samake, created a plan on how to keep his school operating if they faced another teachers' strike. He worked with the teachers and the Education Council on ways to gain village support and cover teachers' salaries. Samake met with the students' parents and the village joined together to support the teachers, making it possible for the school to stay open during the 2020 strike.

What's Next? Djemene needs to replace three dilapidated mud classrooms for their 1st and 2nd grades. We will partner with the village and Education Council to raise funding to construct new cement classrooms.


Literacy is a key component of empowerment to break the cycle of poverty. Together we are working to eradicate illiteracy in Ouelessebougou.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, our Literacy Workshops closed after only a a couple of weeks of class. Dozens of villagers, mostly girls and women, attended class at our 12 partner schools to learn how to read and write in Bambara. Participants were encouraged to practice these skills at home and with their children.

What's Next? We will continue to fight low literacy rates by hosting extended workshops in 2021. Our Literacy Teachers will also receive additional training in reading, writing and math.

Self-Reliance & Business Training

In all our programs, we focus on meeting the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to achieve self-reliance. In the past, we have partnered with villagers on specific economic development initiatives; however, starting in 2020 we are offering business and self-reliance training as part our adult education program. Together we can empower villagers to move from poverty to prosperity.

In January 2020, Lynn Curtis, our partner from Interweave Solutions, traveled to Ouelessebougou to facilitate our new Self-Reliance Business Workshop, which included how to grow your business, manage your finances, and improve your home life and community.

  • 23 people -- including 3 from our Mali staff -- participated in the three-day workshop and received their Masters of Business in the Street (MBS) certificates
  • 3 facilitators were trained to lead the self-reliance workshop in our pilot villages
  • 23 villagers -- 18 of them women -- participated in the practice workshop and created a self-reliance group in Famana
  • 4 villages started the workshop and are working on their self-reliance and business goals
"I received business training because of the Utah Alliance. This training will help me a lot. I am responsible for the sales and purchases of shea butter and soap. This kind of training is very helpful for me. I would like to thank the Utah Alliance for its service." - President of the Women's Corporation in Ouelessebougou

Our Financial Report

We know it's important for you to feel confident that your contribution is going directly to serve the community of Ouelessebougou. We work very hard to ensure your donations are used effectively. We maximize the value of every dollar received to address the urgent and long-term needs of the villagers.

We are pleased to report that 92% of our expenses went directly to program services.

You can see our 2019 - 2020 financial review on our website.

Our Partners

The Alliance would not exist without the dedicated commitment of its partners.

Their generosity has created healthier communities, stronger families and brighter futures for thousands of Malians. We are grateful for their contributions of time, resources and expertise.

"I love OA because of the incredible relationships it forms with the people of Mali. The definition of the Alliance is a mutual benefit between countries and I saw that manifested when I traveled to Ouelessebougou in January. My experience with the Alliance was a lesson of love and friendship. I find that the greatest change is made when there is genuine care and trust. Service may begin with a desire and a hope for better, but it is lead and fulfilled by the heart." --- OA Youth Ambassador, Bronte Mock

We bring students from Utah and Mali together.

We love our school and community group partnerships! Since the 1990's, we have been empowering youth who want to make a difference. We collaborate on service learning, youth ambassadorships and fundraising activities. Thank you to our OA ambassadors, students, teachers and leaders who supported us this year!

Our Volunteers

We have an amazing support system of volunteers including our Board of Directors, Gala Auction committee and expedition teams. Volunteers are the heart of the Alliance. We are thankful for all they do to support our mission.

OA Youth Ambassadors, Bronte & Emma

Our Leadership

Board of Directors

Carl Dempsey, Board Chair*

Bakary Camara | Kara Carlston | Jonathan Dudley* | Addie Fuhriman* | Joseph Griffin | Richard Loomis* | Mike Maughan | Robyn Mock | Dr. Paul Olson* | Heidi Poelman | Danene Torgerson*

* Executive Committee Member

Mali Staff

Anounou Sissosko, Field Director

Teningnini Diakite, Program Manager | Djiba Soumaoro, Program Coordinator | Boubou Traore, Program Assistant | Sekouba Traore, Groundskeeper | Modibo Doumbia, Night Guardian

Days for Girls Enterprise

Mariam Diabate, Lead Ambassador | Tenin Samake & Mariam Bagayoko, Ambassadors in Training

Utah Staff

Judy Hut, Executive Director | Jen Beckstead, Finance Manager

Get Involved

We welcome the support of friends and partners who believe in our mission as strongly as we do. Your contributions are critical for us to continue providing life-changing programs in Ouelessebougou. Please help us by supporting our 20-21 program year.

You Can Change a Life Today

For more information, please contact 801-983-MALI or visit www.lifteachother.org

Stay Connected


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