Mali Sheep Report 2009
Mali sheep micro credit project – A different gift!
In 2009, 136 women’s associations received a loan from the Malian NGO Prométhée. Because of the rural exodus, which has caused many men to immigrate to the cities where they hope to find work, innumerable women are often alone with the responsibility of feeding and caring for their children. Often the children only eat one meal a day. Thanks to the micro credit schemes run by Prométhée, such dramatic situations have changed for many women who can now offer two meals a day to their children.
If from one day to another, the men went on strike in the more popular classes of sub-Saharan Africa (80 per cent of the population) there would be some problems of adjustment for 72 hours, and then things would move on again with maybe a few problems in some areas (e.g. transport, security). If the women went on strike, it would be total disorganization and continent-wide catastrophe after 24 hours. For women are the backbone of Africa. Without them, nothing would work.
This is the reason that development aid for women and the education of women and girls should be the top priority of any action that expects to make a difference in Africa. This explains the fundamental importance of micro-credit projects like the Mali sheep project launched a few years ago in the Mopti region of Mali by the NGO Prométhée, which WWSF has been supporting for quite a few years and for which it has raised over 60’000 Swiss francs ($55,000). The rural women receive a very modest sum (50 CHF or around $50) which enables them to purchase a lamb which they will fatten and re-sell six or twelve months later with a substantial profit (sometimes 100 or 200 per cent). This form of micro-credit is just one of the numerous forms Prométhée supports with the help of the Swiss NGO Idees’Elles and others.WWSF chose the sheep project so as to propose to the man and woman on the street in Europe to make some of their gifts differently, using sponsoring a gift (in this case a lamb), which has a powerful symbolic meaning in our culture. Instead of donating whiskey, chocolates or roses, you purchase a gift card indicating that, in the name of the person to whom you are making a gift, you have purchased a lamb for a poor rural woman of Mali. Some persons have been so moved they have purchased a whole flock of 100 lambs! (For more information, see our website www.woman.ch