Mali, a landlocked country in West Africa, is home to over 14 million people. It is the 12th poorest country in the world according to the United Nation’s Human Development Index. Mali also suffers from one of the globe’s lowest literacy rates at 38%, and only 17% for females.
Founded more than 200 years ago, the village of Djan is located in the rural municipality of Defina, 41 km from the main road and 71 km from the buildOn office in Bougouni. The majority of community members are farmers who raise animals and grow peanuts, cotton, millet, rice, and corn.
At the time of construction, Djan had one community primary school with 41 children enrolled (17 girls and 24 boys). Three teachers taught four grade levels in three temporary, rustic classrooms. Due to the limited resources, some students travel 3 kilometers away to attend classes in a neighboring community.
IAPW contributes the engineering, materials, skilled labor, and project supervision. Each village provides the land, local materials such as sand, and the unskilled labor to build the school. Additionally, every village promises to send girls and boys to school in equal numbers.
The new school block in Djan broke ground on July 16, 2014. It was officially completed on October 20, 2014, but students were able to start attending classes on October 7. Community members provided a combined 1,334 volunteer workdays.