Providing a venue for Malian women to share skills and knowledge in family health, income generation, and organizational management.
Several years ago, a women's association in Mali approached African Sky with a proposal to assist with a collective soap-making enterprise. African Sky provided financial and technical support to these women, and within a year they expanded their production to include premium peanut butter: a locally sourced, self-sustaining value-added product that they now sell in local markets. The women of Markala requested assistance from African Sky to organize the first Summit, which brought together over 100 women to share ideas and educate one another. African Sky worked with these women and a small, devoted group of Peace Corps Mali Volunteers to host the 2011 Mothers & Daughters Summit as a way to share ideas, resources, and experience across generations and geography. Simultaneously, a summit was held Stateside for African Sky volunteers to learn more about life for women in Mali.
Known to participants as “The Skirt Power Meeting”, the 2011 Mothers and Daughters Summit gathered women and their young adult daughters from several villages to share skills, to learn about family health, organizational management, and micro-finance. Now, the women who attended the 2011 Summit have asked for additional African Sky support to replicate this project back in their home regions across Mali.
African Sky needs your help to support each of the women’s associations that attended the first summit so they can host a “Breakout Summit” in their village and invite neighboring women to learn new skills and share their skills. The 2012 Mothers and Daughters Summits will provide a venue for women’s associations members to teach and learn about income generation, organizational management, and family health skills and knowledge in a skill-share capacity. As with the first Summit, the participants will encompass multiple generations: mothers, daughters and grandmothers. The participating organizations will receive micro-loans to carry out the projects they develop at the summits, to build upon the results of the 2011 evaluation that showed practice as a key component to furthering understanding of topics covered.
The synergetic history of women's collectives and micro-finance in the developing world demonstrate that income-generating activities in the hands of women can lead to significant gains in family health, food, and economic security. This model recognizes the expertise nested in each organization, and assists in the development of a network to exchange knowledge and maximize the impact of individuals’ skills. The Mothers and Daughters Summit supports Malian women, mainly from rural communities who propositioned African Sky asking for assistance. It will scale-out this remarkably cost-efficient project that has proven to increase participant understanding of health knowledge, organizational management, and income generation, in accordance with the Millennium Development Goals.