Just the Facts...
Status: Complete

School: Mafele Primary School

Country: Mali

District: Sikasso

Village: Mafele

Donor: The Al O'Connor & Anne Studabaker Foundation

Partner: BuildOn

Year: 2012

Grades: Grades 1-6

Students: 100+

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 Mafele Primary School was completed on March 7, 2012.

Mafele's New Primary School

Mafele Community Profile

Mafele was founded many years ago by Boh Jahiry Coulibaly. Today there are 748 people living in Mafele in 25 family groups. The majority of the population belongs to the Bambara ethnic group and practices the religion of Islam. Mafele is 120 km from the buildOn office in Bougouni and 14 km from the closest medical clinic (located in Simpiela). The people of Mafele earn a living though farming, livestock breeding and gardening. They grow millet, beans, peanuts, rice, cotton and vegetables. The construction of this school will be taking place during the harvesting period, which is dry and hot. 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.
There were no permanent classrooms in Mafele prior to this project. Classes were taught in 2 temporary rooms in very poor condition. Formal education has only been available in Mafele since 2008, when the community school was constructed. Because of this situation, there were just 39 students enrolled in the first and second grades- 14 girls and 25 boys- when buildOn began working with this community. Some of the other children of Mafele traveled 14 km to Simpiela to go to school, and many didn’t go to school at all. No classes were offered in Mafele beyond grade 2.

With the completion of this school project, many more Mafele children are expected to enroll in school. Additional grades can be offered as more students enroll and more teachers are added, and many students who were walking to Simpiela will now attend school in their own village.

Some of our kids

Mafele Primary School Project

The new school block in Mafele has 3 classrooms and 2 latrines built with cinderblocks, metal roofing and poured concrete. Students began using the school in March 2012.

The Mafele school project broke ground on January 7th 2012 and was completed on March 7th 2012. The people of Mafele contributed a total of 2,442 volunteer workdays to the project, finishing 16 days ahead of schedule. Before starting construction they also collected local materials for the project and met with buildOn 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 architecture
• 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
I’m grateful to buildOn and to our donors for this school donation to us. It will allow us to study in good conditions. This school brought an incredible motivation and envy to come to school. May God reward all of the people who made our dream of having an adequate school into reality. May this be the beginning of our partnership and friendship but not the end. All the kids say “Thank you” to Al, Ann and friends for your invaluable help. Aw nice (thank you).
-Allassane Coulibaly, 11 years old, student in 4th grade
With this school, all the school age kids will have the opportunity to learn. Kids will attend class in good conditions. Emphasis will be laid on girls’ schooling because we got more information about how important girls’ education can be with buildOn. Parents and kids are more motivated for education. Adults and teenagers will also have the opportunity to learn how to read and write in Bambara through the community education program that we have already requested. So doing the illiteracy rate will decrease, kids will not walk a long distance in order to attend school. Parents will be able to watch after their kids.
-Souleymane Coulibaly, 54 years old, father and farmer
With this project first of all we learnt to work with time, then we learnt how to work with cement and concrete- but the most important thing has been the well organization of the community in work groups. We learnt how to well divide up the different tasks between the unskilled laborers. The involvement of the entire community through the project support committee meetings, the involvement of the women to work alongside on the same site with men- this project brought everyone equally.
-Sidiki Coulibaly, 24 years old, teacher
First of all I would like to say thank you to buildOn and to our donors for making our dream a reality. Considering the importance of education today, I hope all the kids will get an education at this school. There won’t be any uneducated child in this village, boys and girls included. The adults may also benefit from the Community Education Program because we will make a formal request for that after the school is built.
-Soumaila Coulibaly, age 29, school headmaster
For sure I will bring my contribution to this school building because I don’t want future kids to be like us, the parents, especially 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. Helping build this school will be also for me to fulfill my engagement to fight against illiteracy in our community and to prove that we really need this school. I will help build this school because this school once built will change the view of this community and will motivate parents to send all their kids to school while still being able to watch them.
-Gnifing Coulibaly, age 52, housewife