Since the Jomtien Conference (Thailand) in 1996, the international community has been mobilizing to place education at the heart of development policies. The World Summit for Social Development (Copenhagen, 1995) is part of this process and calls on national decision-makers and bilateral and multilateral cooperation to increase their efforts to eradicate illiteracy, with a focus on reducing disparities between men and women.
Women’s literacy is no longer just a question of equity but an essential strategic issue in the formulation of development options. That is why the rural commune of Kourouma in the Sikasso district has made this issue a growing awareness. With the support of USAID and the European Union, the mayor of the locality AdamaDiarra initiated a project of literacy and training of 400 women farmers. The end of the 3-month training session dedicated to these women farmers was full of emotion on June5.
Support for literacy and training by local authorities appears to be a necessity to accelerate the empowerment of women. It is therefore a springboard for the integral development of the feminine personality, a means of liberation from that which nourishes and carries the world. The notions of equity and quality are used here as an alternative to the implementation of women’s training plans, so as to enable them to shape local change through global action, integrating the cultural values of community stability and factors of the generation of socio-economic renewal.
Experience has shown that literacy reduced to a simple learning of reading and writing does not mobilize women. This is why this learning is accompanied by the acquisition of knowledge and skills in income-generating activities. According to the President of the women’s groups “We are now immune to the deceit of traders in the calculation of the weight of our local products. Now we do our own calculations. ”
AïssatouOuattara, a resident of the village of Kourouma, has adhered to the skills learnt at literacy centers for five years. After completing the basic training, she is now involved in specific technical training by practicing bovine fattening. She also has a field of onions. AïssatouOuattara prides herself in being able to write correspondences in Bambara. The respect of hygiene conditions, the methods of prevention against malaria, sexually transmitted diseases and family planning are no longer secrets for these women learners.
Like the women in the rural commune of Kourouma, there are many men and women who have taken the path to literacy centers. The total adult literacy rate in 2017 is more than 800 people, representing a rate of 34% of the women in the municipality, said the literacy officer at the academy of education of Sikasso.
Some of the difficulties that hamper the provision of literacy are found in the management of the facilitators of the centers who are not satisfied with the wages they receive: “We do not have a diploma or a clear status. We are given insignificant sums. Meanwhile, our comrades are trading or getting rich on gold sites. “
Boubacar Cissé /Sikasso, Mali