Just the Facts...
Status: Complete

School: Gouankele Primary School

Country: Mali

Village: Gouankele

Donor: Matching Donor

Partner: BuildOn

Year: 2012

Grades: Grades 1-6

Students: 54

Why we work in Mali:
● Mali ranks #160 out of 169 countries with data on the United Nations Human Development Index, a comparative measure of life expectancy, literacy, education and standard of living.

● The adult literacy rate in Mali is estimated at 38% for men and just 17% for women.

The Gouankele Primary School was completed on August 13, 2012!

Gouankele Community Profile

The village of Gouankele was founded by N’tigifolo Doumbia. Today there are approximately 600 people living in Gouankele in 21 family groups. The majority belong to the Bambara ethnic group, but the Fulani ethnic group is also represented here. Islam is the most commonly practiced religion. The leaders of this community are the chief and his council, the youth representative, the village secretary, the women’s representative, the parent association head and the school committee head.
Gouankele is 125 km from the buildOn office in Bougouni. The closest health center is 25 km away from the village in Domba; people don’t usually travel there without the aid of a motorcycle. The primary income generating activities in Gouankele are farming and livestock breeding. The staple crops are millet, beans, peanuts, rice, cotton and vegetables.
There were no adequate or permanent classrooms in Gouankele prior to this project. One temporary mud classroom was built by the community in 1997, and a thatch room was added on afterwards (see photo below). There are 54 students (27 girls and 27 boys) enrolled in school in Gouankele. They study with 3 teachers in grades 1, 2 and 6. Students in other grades must travel 10 km to another school in a village called Kotin to study.
In order to petition the government for more certified teachers, the people of Gouankele must provide standard classrooms. This school project will make it possible for more teachers to work in Gouankele, in turn increasing the number of grades taught and the overall enrollment. The community members told buildOn staff they have been searching for a way to bring a permanent school to Gouankele for the last 7 years- and they are extremely motivated to work!

The Old School

The New School and some happy students!

The Gouankele School Project

The new school in Gouankele has 3 classrooms and 2 latrines built with cinderblocks, metal roofing and a poured concrete foundation. Children that didn’t attend school at all because of the arduous daily journey to Kotin will be able to go to class in their own village! This school project broke ground on June 20th 2012 and was completed on August 13th 2012. Students began attending classes in the new school as soon as it was completed in August. The people of Gouankele contributed a total of 1,702 volunteer workdays to the project, finishing ahead of schedule. They managed to do this despite a heavy rainy season, and even spent two whole days transporting materials from another village closer to the road when the large transport trucks got stuck in the mud there. Per Opportunity For All and buildOn methodology, before beginning construction the people of Gouankele gathered with our staff to sign a covenant outlining the following responsibilities:

Community Contribution
• Unskilled labor: 30 workers (15 women and 15 men) per day, six days per week
• Commitment to educating girls and boys equally
• The land on which the school is built
• High quality local materials: sand, gravel, water & rocks
• Volunteer management committee made up of 12 villagers (six women, six men)
• Lodging for buildOn Field Coordinator and skilled laborers in local homes
• Basic construction tools (shovels, picks, wheelbarrows, buckets, etc.) when available

buildOn Contribution
• Engineering and arquitecture
• Construction materials (excluding local materials) for school and latrine
• Skilled labor and plans needed to build the school
• Project management (buildOn coordinators)
• Instruction in basic construction techniques
Education has a deep meaning to me because we here have been looking for a school in our village for 7 seven years, and I’m the 3rd chief that has tried. Education means well-being, development, light, knowledge, self-reliance and understanding. It opens opportunities. It fights mind’s darkness.
-Sounkalo Doumbia, school committee head and village chief, age 83
I will bring my contribution to this school because I don’t want future kids to be like we, the parents, namely the girls. I would like the girls to study to escape from early and arranged marriage. I want all the kids to see this light we parents can’t see because we haven’t been educated.
-Ramatou Diabate, housewife, age 32
There is a saying which says ‘one finger can’t grasp a stone on the floor.’ Another says ‘united ants can move a cow’s leg to their hole.’ Together we built this nice school- I’m so happy and proud with this school donation. For me, our school is the most beautiful and strongest school buildOn has ever built. I’m so grateful to buildOn and to our donors for their invaluable help.
-Sounkalo Doumbia, school committee head and village chief, age 83
During seven years the community of Gouankele was looking for a school. Having this school is a pride for us. This schoolhouse has already brought a huge change in the village. The impact it has on parents and kids is invaluable for more kids have been enrolled in school and parents are more motivated and involved for their children’s schooling now. Having kids learning here at home is a big relief for parents. Kids are getting education in good conditions and in security, for before they were taking class in a room which could fall on them at any time. There is not more straw shade classroom. Teachers like their job more for teaching conditions have been improved a lot. All parents have the same goal which is to build a brighter future for their kids; parents know that poverty can’t be reduced without education. I’m really happy with this school building and thankful to buildOn, to the generous donors, and to any person who contributed to making our dream a reality. Aw nice!
-Siaka Mariko, father and farmer, community organizer, age 52