Improvement capacity and quality of education in Mali
Noukoula, Mali

GAAS-Mali wants to give girls the same chance for education as boys.

In 2014, GAAS-Mali wanted to build three extra classrooms so that the entire elementary school education can be followed in Noukoula. This can prevent many girls from dropping out too early. In addition, it was not a luxury to improve the existing classrooms – which only consisted of tree trunks with a roof made of branches and straw. To persuade parents to send daughters to school, a well was drilled on the school grounds, a vegetable garden and a greenhouse was set up.

Thanks to the loyal contribution of the population – in terms of unskilled labor, local materials (sand) and water – this project was realized according to plan in a few years and the number of girls attending school was doubled.

Project has been executed successfully!

Amount donated for phase fase 1: € 25,000.-
Amount donated for phase 2: € 21,000.-

Sponsors: Aalbers-Kersten Holding, Addo Kranendonk Fund, ASN FoundationRabobank Share4More and foundation Eerlijk Delen

Project information
The situation

In Noukoula (Mali) is a school. It is the only (primary) school in Noukoula and for the within a radius of 5 kilometers surrounding six villages. The school was established several years ago by GAAS Mali, a non-governmental organization in the Segou region working in the fields of health, education and rural development. GAAS Mali has submitted a request to the Van Doorn Foundation for financial support for the improvement of the school.

The school has six classes for 250 students (176 boys and 74 girls). The aim of GAAS Mali is to give boys and girls the same opportunity to education. The school in Noukoula has six out of the nine classes for primary / basic education and is meant for the children of Noukoula and its six surrounding villages. All the boys and 50% of girls from the villages go to this school. Because, despite all the efforts of GAAS Mali, many parents are still difficult to persuade to give their daughters the same rights to education as their sons, as a result 50% of the girls are still NOT going to school.

Moreover for the last three years of primary / basic education the children have to go to the city Konobougou, 10 kilometers from Noukoula. Over 50% of the boys then drop-out because they have no family or place to stay in the city and all the girls drop-out because their parents do not consent.

The importance of the project

The aim of GAAS Mali to give boys and girls an equal opportunity to education is commendable and deserves to be supported!

The implementing organisation

Paul has visited Noukoula in January 2014. He was warmly welcomed by successively all the children of the school, their parents, management of the school, the village chief of Noukoula and the village chiefs of the six surrounding villages. There have been extensive and good discussions and GAAS Mali is a reliable and competent counterpart organization.

The envisaged project results

GAAS Mali requested the Van Doorn Foundation in 2014 for funds to construct the three additional classrooms, so that the school has all nine classes required for basic education. This required a total amount of € 11,600. In addition, we raised € 13,400 for a water well, sanitary facilities and to set up a vegetable garden, where parents of the school children can grow vegetables, which they can sell on the market in Konobougou. With the sale of the vegetables, the income of the local population can be improved and parents are encouraged to send their daughters to school. In short, a project with a strong gender equality and poverty reduction factor!

The progress of phase 1

In November 2015 the local population completed the masonry for the new classrooms up to roof height with cement made available by the municipality Konobougou. With funds we have received from the Foundation Fair Share and the proceeds of a charity Spring Market at the School of the Future in Ede we could construct the roof, lay the floor and install windows and doors. For the finishing of the interior and exterior walls of the population made unskilled labour available and we paid for the cement and skilled labour.

The late 2015 rain season brought a major setback because the ‘old’ classrooms were badly damaged. The new classrooms had therefore to be put into use to accommodate the pupils from collapsed classrooms. On the other hand, a blessing in disguise that the new classrooms were almost finished, so that ongoing school activities could continue. The envisaged expansion of the school however had to be postponed.

The construction of the sanitary facilities and the purchase of furniture took place in the summer of 2016 – with funds from the Addo Kranendonk Fund. In addition the parents’ committee, parents and schoolchildren were educated on hygiene and provided with hygiene kits. The teachers of the school received special training enabling them to continue the hygiene education.

At the same time with funding from Rabobank | Share4More a greenhouse was set up, a water well drilled and a water tower built. The greenhouse yielded already a good harvest, half of which is used for own consumption and the other half is sold on the local market. The revenues are used to purchase teaching material and footwear and cloths for pupils from very poor families.

The progress of phase 2

The first phase of the project was completed by the end of the summer of 2016 and evaluated with GAAS-Mali and the school. Everyone was very motivated to sustain these successes and to continue them! Hence, the Foundation has agreed to fund a second phase of the project: to build the 3 additional classrooms so that the initial planned capacity expansion can be realized. For this extension – which was realized in 2,5 years – an amount of € 21,000 is has been made available (€ 7,000 per classroom per year): the Aalbers Kersten Holding from The Netherlands sponsored half of this funding and the other half was covered by a gift of ASN Foundation!

The 2nd phase of the project started in the 4th quarter of 2017. In the 1st quarter of 2018 the construction site was prepared and the foundation was laid. And in the course of 2018, the population made the cement blocks and the walls were bricked by craftsmen and provided with reinforced concrete ring beams. The work was stopped during the rain-season – from June to September – because in that period everyone is busy with agricultural activities on their land.

In the course of 2019 the roof was placed on the school, the windows and doors were placed, the classrooms were equipped with ceilings and all the inside and outside walls were finished. Ultimately all classrooms were ready by the end of 2019.

The result

Thanks to the loyal contribution of the population – in terms of unskilled labor, local materials (sand) and water – the construction of the school was realized according to plan.

We are very proud of this project and consider it very justified that the Malian Government declared our local partner, GAAS-Mali, in February 2019 the best NGO of the Ségou region!

It is special to see the interest and commitment of the population; the construction may be a little slower than if it had been done by a contractor, but the involvement and “sense of belonging” is enormous!