Monday, September 28, 2009

Incredible Women

We’ve been very fortunate to meet some incredible women during our time here in Mali and wanted to share a little about some of them.

Coumba Toure – In addition to being our gracious host in Bamako, Coumba is the regional director for West Africa for Ashoka, responsible for selecting and supporting program fellows. She has been described as “an educator seeking alternatives in education, an activist struggling for radical social change and working for just and sustainable relations worldwide, and an artist who enjoys writing fiction and sharing music.” Truly an amazing woman, here is a link to a piece she wrote on The Institute for Popular Education in Mali (also the organization we are working with here.)

Maria Diarra (Keita) – We wrote a little bit about Maria in an earlier post, but wanted to share more about her amazing work. Maria spent over ten years doing development work with rural women in Mali, earned a Masters degree in education from Amherst University, and founded the Institute for Popular Education in Mali initially focused on adult education and now targeting the issue of childhood literacy and learning. She was elected as an Ashoka fellow in 1993 and has continued growing IEPs education programs and reach since then. Her passion for her work is palpable and incredibly inspiring. This profile gives a more in depth description.

Aminata Traore – We only spoke with Aminata briefly, but she has such gravitas and presence that we had to share her background as well. She is the former Minister of Culture of Mali, a former coordinator for the UNDP, an author and a political activist. Here is a brief bio.

This doesn’t even include any of the guests we met at Coumba’s wedding who are an incredibly distinguished group of people – from Ashoka fellows from across Africa to the founder of Justice in Nigeria Now, a truly amazing group.

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