Tea for Two Programs: Collaboration Strengthening Our Solidarity in Mali
On Saturday, December 18th, Project Muso Ladamunen (Project for the Empowered Woman) hosted a tea event at for staff and program leaders as part of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation’s SolidariTea campaign. This campaign was launched to raise awareness of global poverty and to inspire individuals to take action in solidarity with those who live in poverty around the world. In honor of this mission, Saturday’s tea event at Yirimadjo’s Center for Women brought together leaders from both Project Muso’s Community Based Malaria Program (CBMP) and the Participatory Education Program in order to discuss how to strengthen linkages between these two programs. In his welcoming remarks, Education Program Director Moise Samaké explained that, “Through closer collaboration these two programs can more effectively work in solidarity with the poor of Yirimadjo. Together we can give the community health and we can give the community information.
These two things reinforce each other, for the benefit of everyone.” As respected members of their community, Project Muso’s Community Health Workers and Education Program Facilitators are uniquely aware of the challenges that their neighbors face as a result of extreme poverty. Over steaming glasses of Malian green tea, Education Program Facilitators described how the picture-based curriculum that they use in their classes had helped students who had never received a formal education to understand the origin and symptoms of malaria. For their part, Community Health Workers shared countless stories of medical care delayed too long because individuals were too ashamed by their inability to pay doctor’s fees or too fearful of being unable to pay for basics like food afterwards. Indeed, they identified this poverty-induced delay as one of the biggest obstacles to treating malaria cases within the first 48 hrs, a national public health goal that Project Muso is striving to achieve in Yirimadjo. The challenges and ideas that were examined during Saturday’s SolidariTea event not only strengthened the two programs’ commitment to their shared goals, but gave Community Health Workers and Education Facilitators a new understanding of their common purpose. As Tata Koné puts it, “I am even happier to teach my classes now that I know what I do is important to their program as well. Together we can help more people stay safe and healthy.”