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 800 years ago, the village of Ntjibala is located in the municipality of Wola, 37 km from the main road and 137 km from Bougouni. The majority of community members are small-scale farmers who raise animals and grow peanuts, cotton, millet, rice, sorghum, and corn.
At the time of construction, Ntjibala had one community primary school with 92 children enrolled (50 girls and 42 boys). Three teachers taught four grade levels in two temporary, rustic classrooms. Due to the limited resources, some students travel 6 km 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 project broke ground on March 17, 2014, and construction was completed on June 22, 2014. Community members provide a combined 1,938 volunteer workdays to building the school, and finished the school 17 days ahead of schedule. Students will begin attending classes in their new school in October 2014.