Local leadership, from the beginning.
Our organization was founded by a group of women: residents of a peri-urban community in Bamako called Sikoro and students from Brown University. From the very beginning, we sought to help communities define their health priorities and to help develop local solutions to address them. In 2006, our first Community Health Action Group was formed in Sikoro to allow community members to do just that – and our Mali Health Organizing Project, or MHOP, became a reality.
Since then, Mali Health has grown to serve dozens of communities in Bamako and across Mali. We are guided by the needs articulated by the communities we serve. In addition to our current approaches, that guidance led us to build a health center and maternity ward, produce a health-promoting radio show, respond to the West African Ebola outbreak, and strengthen community preparedness for future outbreaks of infectious diseases.
We will always be grounded in work with marginalized communities and we will never stop advocating for the people and solutions rooted there. Collaboration is what makes our story possible and its why we’re always working hard to help communities take the lead.
Though our work and activities have changed with time, there are three values that have remained at the heart of how we help mothers, children, and communities pursue good health: community participation, valuing local resources, and sustainability.
The participation of community members in identifying local health needs built the foundation of Mali Health. No one knows our partner communities better than the people who live there every day.
Our founders recognized the strengths and resources that exist on the ground in communities like Sikoro – and we have been building on them ever since.
Whether educating mothers about preventive health behaviors or introducing health centers to quality improvement tools, we are committed to equipping and building capacity in our partner communities by strengthening the assets that are already there.
By providing services directly, we save lives. But to really improve maternal and child health, we know that families must be able to access the care they need, when they need it – not just while they are in our program, but always.
“Mali Health is not like other NGOs. When others come, they have their programs, they want their results and when they depart, everything stops. But with Mali Health, we are consulted and instead of funding, they offer skills that help you evolve. This is what I like about their work : even outside the scope of health, these skills can help you in any context.”
– Dr. Karamoko Diallo, Medical Director at the community health center in Lafiabougou
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