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Photo: Terre Sans Frontières In addition to producing several tons of organic papayas per year and raising fish some 200 kilometers from the coast, Diaba Fané offers training to its peers.

This text is part of the special International Solidarity section

In the rural commune of Sagabala, in Mali, Diaba Fané is a model. The entrepreneur, mother of seven children, has taken one by one, and with determination, the stages of a journey which have made her a knowledgeable entrepreneur and, moreover, a trainer appreciated by her peers.

Diaba Fané barely knew how to read and write when she entered the fold of the Sahel 21 organization, a subsidiary of Terre sans frontières (TSF), thanks to which she not only freed herself from illiteracy, but she is become a vector of change in her community thanks to the extensive cultivation of organic papayas and, more recently, fish farming.

She is not the only one to have benefited from the support of the organization. In 30 years of presence in Mali, Sahel 21-TSF has contributed to the empowerment of several dozen villages, or more than 55,000 direct beneficiaries.

The secret of Sahel 21-TSF's success? Actions in line with the needs expressed by communities, supported by a happy mix of local and Canadian skills.

“Terre sans frontières is an international cooperation organization that relies on three pillars: humanitarian aid, sustainable development and the sending of volunteer workers, mainly professionals, to strengthen their skills,” explains the program manager. , Geneviève St-Amand.

Sharing of principles and values

According to the country director of Sahel 21-TSF for Mali, Seydou Togola, at the organization's employment since 2003, the other keystone is the “enormous respect” between the different parties involved.

“We work for local development, starting from the base,” says the trained agronomist, himself the son of a farmer. In all partnership processes with villages, we believe that we must first get to know each other, share our principles and values, to work well together. » When these principles and values ​​are in line, the support process towards empowerment can be launched. It will last approximately five years. Then, development must be driven by communities.

“To do this, we need strong and equipped village organizations. With Sahel 21-TSF, literacy is systematic and becomes the educational support for all of our activities,” summarizes Mr. Togola.

After the basics of literacy, the TSF course involves various training courses, particularly in entrepreneurship, and microfinancing. When pitfalls arise, professionals (local resources or Canadian volunteer workers) are also there to provide support. Finally, when political instability or climate change devastates the region, Sahel 21-TSF is able to release emergency aid. “For two years, for example, the disastrous rainfall has greatly damaged harvests in Mali,” says Ms. St-Amand.

Today, in addition to producing several tons of organic papayas per year, qu sells on local markets as well as in Bamako, and raises fish some 200 kilometers from the coast, Diaba Fané offers training to her peers.

She is also the owner of 'a herd of cattle, a rare occurrence for a woman in this corner of the world. “Historically, it is the men who own the livestock, but Diaba has been able to reinvest part of his profits in the purchase of animals,” explains Seydou Togola. We are all extremely proud of her! She is an inspiration. And with this article, she's international now! » he laughs.

This content was produced by the Devoir special publications team, relating to marketing . The editorial staff of Devoir did not take part.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116