Soron Community Ensures The Sustainability Of The Project Reading Activity

Thursday, June 6, 2019
Students from Soron

“The development of a community begins with the education of its children. Given all that this project has done here, we are forever committed to support its activities”. Yaya Touré, Mayor in charge of education.

USAID/Mali Selective Integrated Reading Activity (SIRA) has been operating in Soron village in Sikasso Region through its community participation component, since the second cohort that began in October 2017. Thanks to the project’s awareness-raising activities, the village has become increasingly involved in the education of its children. The active involvement of the community volunteers and members of the school management committee enabled Soron community to be selected as a beneficiary of the project community library. 

As a sign of their commitment, the community volunteers set up a learning space called in Bamanakan Yeelenkɛnɛ—also known as the community library—where all students from grades 1 and 2 could gather in the evenings to reinforce their skills in reading and writing. “I am very happy to see my children learning, because I cannot read and write. With this support, my kid is getting a good education”, says Kadia Mariko, mother of one of the students attending this learning space.

As a result of the project’s awareness-raising efforts and negotiations, the Soron community decided that students, who advance to the next class, will leave their family-school link booklets behind so that incoming students can use them as well. SIRA Project organized more courtesy and awareness-raising visits with community leaders and community based organizations in order to further increase their commitment. Today the community independently raised $100 that they offered as a token to the two volunteers so that they would remain motivated to continue running the Yeelenkɛnɛ.

Knowing the importance of SIRA’s activities in improving children’s reading and writing, and aware that community volunteers are not paid by the project, Nouhoun Samaké, one of the two volunteers, is grateful: “I am very satisfied with support from the community. We are committed to actively manage and run the Yeelenkɛnɛ.” For Broulaye Samaké, the President of the school management committee, the Yeelenkɛnɛ is a very important activity that brought positive changes for the village children. Even when teachers were on strikes, children continued to attend the library.  “The development of a community begins with the education of its children. Given all that this project has done here, we are forever committed to support its activities,” added Yaya Touré, the Mayor in charge of education.

The Yeelenkɛnɛ is a small community library, loaded in a metal chest. Each metal chest contains about 350 leveled books. These books are kept in an area that the community reserves for the library. The Yeelenkɛnɛ is managed by two community volunteers. The community selects them while the project provides the training. In addition to reading, writing and playing literacy games in these safe spaces, children and their parents can borrow books and one-page texts to practice reading at home. 

The SIRA project, which runs from 2016 to 2021, works to improve reading and writing instruction in the national language of Bamanankan in first and second grades in nearly 4,000 schools in the regions of Koulikoro, Sikasso, Ségou and the district of Bamako.

Last updated: May 14, 2020

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