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Ségou Villages Connection: On An Outreach Tour To Villages In Mali

Boukary Konate of the RV grantee project Ségou Villages Connection got the opportunity to present his project at the International Architecture Festival in Perugia, Italy in the first week of June. His panel “Mali: when emergency drives development” was sponsored by the Foundation Eland (Switzerland) which took place on June 2, 2011. In this panel self-sufficiency and food security and the technological progress of rural communities in the region of Bamako and surroundings were discussed. Boukary posts his experiences in a blog and notes that the shops are open 24/7 in Europe and wonders who will be the first to do so in Africa.

On the 18th of June, six members of the Ségou villages connection project hopped on in a very old mammywagon towards Dioro and its surrounding villages – 70 kms from the town of Ségou. With about 50000 inhabitants Dioro is an area of rice fields, fishing and gardening and is situated on the Niger river. The village was chosen because it has a multimedia center for the Millennium Villages Project and people have access to the facilities at a lower cost.

The mammywagon carrying the banners of Rising Voices and Segou Village Connection. Image Courtesy Boukary Konate.

The team carried a solar panel, a battery, two computers, four USB Internet connection keys, some digital cameras and a lot of luggage for the eight day long tour.

Segou villages connection project getting ready to go to other villages in the Région of Ségou. Image courtesy Boukary Konate

Boukary writes in the project blog about the experience in Dioro Village:

“After explaining the aims of segou villages connection through Ségouinfos, more people appreciated the initiative and took part in the training. Some participants already knew a little how to use computer but, didn’t know how to use internet for their needs.”

The additional participants of the Dioro Village were taught to create email accounts and how to write stories, how to take picture and videos and how to publish posts on blogs. They were also trained how to send sms and Twitter. As per Boukary:

As twitter is very important in share instant informations, in getting contact with people all over the world, we create twitter account for some participants. You can follow them here: @fasokan, @alassanD, @ycoulibaly, @hamidoud111, @dembloumar, @diarraseydou, @Dtraore, @kassoumD.

The group of participants with Rising Voices/Global Voices T' shirt

Alassane Keita, a teacher from Ségou, tweets:

AlassanD (Alassa Keita): 19 Jun

Bonsoir à tous depuis les villages maliens. Nous sommes participants à la formation toujours pas sages/segou villages connection project

Good evening from the Malian village. We are the training participants from Ségou Village Connection project

According to more Tweets by Boukary here are some reactions from the participants:

* “We have a better chance than our grandfather, the Internet is a very forward”
* “Every day the ear goes to school,” “you're never old to learn”.
* “I am online with a wise old man and a fan of the internet in the village of Dioro: Why not to become an old blogger LOL”

“Before, I had never used the computer, but with this training, I find that it's easy, all you need is the will” , tells Oumar Dembele, a primary school teacher from Zambougou.

“I just left training in sending sms in the field of health. This is for a team in place, the health of families and the state of development of the sick and to send the report by sms to our leader in the town of Segou. When I learned that you are also training in sending sms, I told myself that it serves me even more since, despite the existence of the Multimedia Centre home here, we do not have enough ideas on the Internet ” , tells Mr. Kassoum

More reactions can be found here.

On June 23rd, the participants went to a nearby river. This was the time to touch a camera for the first time and learn how to take pictures and videos.

Photo training at the banks of a river. Image courtesy Segou Village Connection.

In villages, we always see this small device with tourists and projects people but, more people don’t know how to use it even if we always have curiosity to touch it. One of the purposes of this training is to teach to participants how to make photos and videos and use them in posts on blogs.

The team also went to Djèdougou, a region encompassing many villages which are full of history, tradition and culture of Mali. According to the project blog [fr]:

The idea is to create a link between the participants of Dioro village, towns of Segou, Cinzana-Gare, Zambougou and that can go beyond the lively blog, discuss issues and African villagers with the rest of the world on the web.

(Translations were done using Machine Translation)

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