Sustainable health initiatives require village decision-making and hands-on implementation
- Villagers have increased amount of available income through use of economic tools and funds.
- Villages have viable economic development plans.
Health, Education and Economic Development opportunities are all very inter-related. The Alliance’s Economic Development programs adjust to meet the unique needs of village citizens.
To address the longstanding economic hardships in Mali, the Alliance’s economic development initiatives began in 1995 when small individual loans were offered to villagers in the town of Ouelessebougou. After the Alliance had provided these loans for several years, (aiding tailors, veterinarians, restaurateurs, etc.) the Alliance determined there was a greater need in the more rural village communities. In 2004, the Alliance re-structured its loan program and began offering revolving loans to village committees in larger amounts—allowing for an increased profit margin.
Village Loans for Self-Reliance
The Alliance set up a revolving loan fund through a local credit union in Ouelessebougou, which allowed villages to have access to capital in order to help them start and maintain business ventures. 15 villages have participated in the Alliance’s economic development loan program since 1995. Typical loans were for creating a grain bank, fertilizer, shea butter production and individual loans. 85% of all Alliance loans since 1995 have been repaid or are current!
Most adults in Ouelessebougou are not literate and have little training or experience in business development, but they have farming and craft skills to start a business to improve life for their families and villages. The Alliance offers interested villagers training on how to create a business plan and manage their business loan.
14-15 Economic Development Projects:
Village Agriculture Development Project
As described under our current Health Projects, the Village Agriculture Development Project is a synthesis of health and economic development opportunities. Through our partnership with Feed the World, Field Director Anounou Sissoko will receive training on how to train villagers interested in increasing their crop yield. An increase in production will allow women to still feed their families with nutritious food while increasing their opportunity to sell surplus produce.