The following are excerpts written by Adam Aicha Hanne, an MPH – PharmD student who spent her summer practicum working with the Mali Health team in Bamako. She worked on the Gnaman ni Sôrô ni Kènèya project with the Community Capacity Building department.
The goals of the five-year Gnaman ni Sôrô ni Kènèya project are to improve community health by addressing environmental health hazards and creating opportunities for youth and women’s employment through waste collection, composting, recycling, and repurposing.
One of the goals of Gnaman ni Sôrô ni Kènèya project is to turn what is currently treated as waste into a useful commodity. Based on the Sustainable Community Project from GAYO in Ghana, we want to work with peri-urban communities to convert everyday trash into reusable products. But our very first step towards achieving our goal is to conduct research. Our research is composed of five analyses, three of which I am currently working on:
- Waste composition analysis
- Social norms analysis
- Stakeholder analysis
This week we focused on the waste composition analysis as it is the most time-consuming and physically demanding one. Along with our team of investigators, we went into our target communities – Sabalibougou, Sikoro, and Kalabambougou – to physically analyze the waste generated by the homes participating in the survey. Investigators were provided with a spreadsheet that categorized the different types of waste that are typically found in waste sacs.
Teams of investigators were responsible for adequately weighing the waste sacs, identifying and segregating the types of waste, and documenting the weight of each type. The information will be used to used to identify which waste products are recyclable and the total waste per category will be quantified. Through our analyzes, we will understand the types of waste generated by the participating communities, and how their waste can potentially benefit them.
Learning from History
Last week I had an in-depth. fruitful conversation with my aunt and cousin about pre/post-colonial Mali. So, basically, our conversation was about Mali in the 1880s & 1960s. We spoke about how Mali was succeeding with the ruling of President Modibo Keïta. My aunty expressed that around the time of Modibo Keïta, Mali was functioning sustainably and the streets of Bamako were so clean. She emphasized how the community was centered around the culture, and how traditional ways were respected and followed as laws. For instance, people were frowned upon if they littered or did not contribute to community efforts to keep the country up to par. Mali was united regardless of tribalism or religious beliefs. After our conversation, she told me to take a look at Mali’s original constitution. Therefore, I focused on finding Mali’s first constitution right after gaining its independence from the French government.
However, during this research, I learned that Modibo Keïta had ruled as Mali’s leader during colonialism and post-colonialism from 1915 to 1977. But then my main question became who ruled Mali before colonialism in the 1880s? And what was the constitution or constitution-like understanding of the people of that time? I hope that my Bambara teacher who studies the history and social structures of Mali will be able to fill the gaps in the questions I have about Mali and its history. I honestly believe history is important to understand the future. My motto used to be don’t get stuck in the past but focus your energy on the future. That motto has always come in handy for me and has allowed me to advance in many ways in my life. However, as of today I now understand that it is important to look back at the past and analyze for what may have worked for people or communities and utilize those hidden gems in the future. I hope by revisiting the past I can bring to light the gems of the past to the future, and hopefully what I find can be helpful to my Malian communities.