Latest Posts

  • Mali – Last Days
  • Practical Small Projects finishes gathering information in Bamako where questions are answered at the office about various budgets and new evaluations. PSP prepares its narrative report and financial report for the Addax Petroleum Foundation, which funded the 6 projects completed in Meridiela.

    Generate.Change finishes up interviews and documentary filming in the office and around Bamako.  It has been a very busy 3 weeks, however, as PSP has completed its work on its projects.  It is imperative for Mary to be involved in the projects on the ground and gather the information directly to ensure accuracy and that work implemented by the local Malians is well done and of the highest quality.  This is one of the many unique qualities that makes Practical Small Projects (www.practicalsmallprojects.com) confident that the work it does is making a difference.  Immediate results created in a practical and meaningful way, through projects at the local level. It is our hope that as a result of this blog, you can recognize PSP’s huge impact on the community, something larger organizations aren’t always able to observe.  With PSP, a little money truly does go a long way.

     

     

  • Mali – Evaluation of the Village of Meridiela – Overnight Stay
  • PSP returns to Meridiela to finish compiling the evaluation interviews for the various projects completed in the village.  While talking with the head Nurse, Madame Dembélé, we learn more about the various patients that visit the Health Clinic.  PSP received an Addax Petroleum Foundation (APF) grant to renovate the Health Clinic; which includes a solar powered fridge for medicine and a multi tap system for the Health Clinic structure itself. Mary then continues gathering information from the school director, as the foundation also funded the installation of solar panels for the school electrification.  This provides children with the opportunity to study at night as well as to hold adult literacy classes.  Since we happen to be in the village during election week, we also find that there are signs showing that the schools are being used to hold voting registration and ballot voting.  The Chief of the village tells us that since the lighting installation was installed in time for the local elections (i.e., the Mayor; other local authorities), it makes a perfect hub where the surrounding villages can come and cast their vote.  Generate.Change continues to document the “after” of the village capturing all these various completed projects as well as the new solar powered pumping system in the hang-dug well, both projects funded by APF.  This pumping system from the well pumps water into a 3000 liter water tank, which then travels to 7 different taps. It travels to the maternity’s multi tap system and also travels to taps near the school, allowing children easy access to water (customarily, small children must pull up heavy buckets of water or operate a manual foot or hand pump, which can be very difficult and labor-intensive to use for young children). The finals taps are located in a central position of the village, thereby allowing everyone easy access to water.    

    [vimeo]http://www.vimeo.com/4514094[/vimeo]

    [vimeo]http://www.vimeo.com/4815935[/vimeo]

  • Mali – Village of Bougoula – Maternity
  • The village of Bougoula is located off a paved road, 210km south of Bamako.  It is in the village of Bougoula where we find the privately funded Maternity building (i.e., a six room health clinic where women give birth and where the pharmacy is located) and where we are documenting this completed construction project.  As we arrive, we meet with the Chief of the village, Mossa Kone, and he shows us how proud he is that the villagers here have a wonderful structure to use that was desperately needed.  The building looks lovely and there is word that many traveling by on the road have stopped to look at it, including travelers from as far away as Cote d’Ivoire.  In addition to the main structure of the Maternity standing with 6 rooms, there is a modest house built just behind it for the head Nurse.  The Nurse’s home is imperative to the stability and proper functioning of the Maternity as the Nurse needs to be nearby and on call. Often maternities are built without this in mind and require the Nurse to travel up to several kilometers in order to reach the Maternity. The lack of immediate access to medical personnel is extremely problematic during village emergencies.  In addition to the Maternity and Nurse’s home, there are also latrines built within a few feet of the maternity.  The latrines are very well done, thus ensuring the sanitary condition of the Maternity and easy access to a bathroom for the patients.  

    [vimeo]http://www.vimeo.com/4550828[/vimeo]


  • Mali – Around Bamako
  • For a few days we are busy preparing for a visit to the village of Bougoula to see the finished maternity and its nearby latrines, funded by private donors.  We are continuing to work in the office as well. PSP’s Mary Graham is collecting data about current projects while the Afriq Power team continues to work on making solar panels from a 10,000 solar cell shipment.  In addition to this work, we are preparing for another visit and overnight stay in Meridiela. This visit will be to document the finished projects, funded by the Addax Petroleum Foundation, as well as to continue collecting information for the evaluation of the completed projects.

  • Mali – Evaluation in the village of Meridiela Day 1
  • This morning at 5:00AM we travel to the village of Meridiela from Mali’s capital city, Bamako. This drive consists of a 1 1/2 hour drive on paved road and another 1 1/2 hour drive on a very bumpy and dusty road. We pass hundreds of other villages while en route to our destination. At our final destination, Meridiela, Mary Graham begins to conduct the lengthy evaluation of the health clinic; school electrification; well construction and solar powered well pump while gathering other village statistics to determine the impact of the projects Practical Small Projects has realized.  

     

    We hold meetings with the Chief of the village, the new Mayor, the doctor of the health clinic and the maternity’s nurse, known as the “sage femme” (translated in English as “wise woman”).  Unfortunately, the Director of the school is out of town today even though the children were busy attending class.  Mary and Daniel Dembélé, the Director of Afriq Power, collected valuable information from the records the village keeps in accordance with government requirements, such as attendance in school, specific illnesses and birth records. Our first trip to Meridiela proved to be successful due to the valuable information gathered. We will return again next week to speak with more individual villagers, as well as the Director of the school. The final stages of the solar powered pump for the well and the water tap system in the health center will be documented by Generate.Change. for the “after” portion of the promo video.

  • Mali – Bamako Office working day
  • Today in the office that both Afriq Power and Ji Duma occupy, the long awaited delivery of the solar panel cells occurs.  Flown in from the U.S., the pallet of cells was held up in Morocco far longer than anticipated as a result of a change in Royal Air Maroc’s plane size. Therefore, Daniel, the head of Afriq Power (the for profit company based in Mali that is hired by PSP to complete solar installations), is busy with his employees building the panels that are currently on backorder.    

  • Return to Mali via Casablanca.
  • We land at 3:00am in Mali after a 16 hr layover in Casablanca, Morocco.  While in Casablanca, we take a quick, although exciting, tour through a local market and a mosque (known to be the largest Mosque in Africa) located on the water. After landing in Mali and getting adjusted to the time difference and long flight, we arrive at the office in Bamako, Mali, only to find that the Malian government has cut the electricity to the office as a result of a bridge under construction nearby.  To remedy this rather inconvenient situation, Afriq Power has installed 8 solar panels and now the office is run on entirely on solar power!  Very cool; although it is very hot.

  • Preparing for the follow up trip to Mali, West Africa April 16 –>May7th
  • Generate.Change is refilling Malaria medicine; buying tape stock and canned air for the dusty and hot return to Mali, April 16th –> May 7th.  Temperatures this time will be an average of 102ºF during the day and 80ºF at night.  The plan is to capture all the “AFTER” of the “Before and After” model village work that has been completed in the last 4 months.  The two promo videos are being cut and worked on while Generate.Change is in Africa.  Generate.Change will return with great footage to wrap up the two promo videos, and work on implementing more advertising ideas for PSP.