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Ségou Villages: Words of Advice During Storms

The adventure continues with Boukary Konaté and his team of the Rising Voices grantee project Ségou Villages Connection. One of their latest achievements was the creation of a radio station in the village using an mp3 player and memory cards. Boukary on the project blog “Here is an innovation technology which allows the villagers to get in distance on FM, the music that a neighbor is playing on memory card.”

A very simple radio station

And he continues describing how the radio operates:

We insert in an MP3, a memory card containing pieces of music and we check the pieces of music on the card as we check FM radios frequencies. Once the music got on the card by the radio well, the neighbors can listen the same pieces of music with in distance their radios even small.

Unfortunately, due to the lack of electricity in villages, both the mp3 player and radio are connected to a battery, yet it is still considered a success that needs to be developed and spread to other Malian villages. This prompts Boukary to ask the following question [fr]:

si la carte mémoire a beaucoup joué sur les cassettes en matière de musique, est-ce que les MP3 ne vont pas aussi jouer sur les radio FM dans les les localités rurales en matière d’information et de musique ?

If cassettes greatly benefit from memory cards when it comes to music, won't radios also benefit from mp3s in rural areas when it comes to information and music?

However, when dealing with technology tools, one should be quite cautious, especially when in a somehow hostile environment. The objective of Segou Villages Connection is not limited to disseminating information and teaching about the use of new technology, but also on raising awareness among rural populations. “So when its raining, turn off your mobile phones,” advises Oumar Dembélé, Ségouinfos blogger in the village of Zambougou, who describes a tragedy that took place in the villages of Bla, posting to the Segou Infos [fr] blog:

Oumar Dembélé, Ségouinfos representative in Zambougou


Le samedi 19 juin 2011, le gardien du lycée de Bla est mort sous le coup de la foudre. Ils étaient huit personnes dans une case au champ. Le gardien jouait avec son téléphone, soudain, une foudre s’est abattue sur les huit personnes dans la case. Deux personnes ont trouvé la mort sur le champ parmi dont le gardien qui est un camarade à moi. Les autres blessés ont été emmenés à l’hôpital de Bla.

On Saturday, June 19th, a Bla high-school janitor died after being struck by lightning. There were eight persons in a cabin on the field. The janitor was playing with his phone, suddenly lightning hit the eight persons in the cabin. Two immediately died, one of which was the janitor, who happens to be a friend of mine. The other injured were taken to Bla hospital.

Oumar also wrote about another unfortunate situation in the village of Dotebougou, providing some more words of advice to his readers:

Le mardi 31 mai 2011 sous la pluie, un baobab est tombé sur une femme et son bébé à Dotebougou. Ni la femme ni le bébé n’ont survécu. Je lance un appel à toutes et à tous d’éviter de s’assoir sur les l’arbre sous la tornade.

On Tuesday, May 31st under the rain, a baobab tree fell on a woman and her baby in Dotebougou. Neither the woman, nor the baby survived. I call upon every one to avoid sitting under trees during a tornado.

Photo of the Baobab tree by Oumar Dembélé

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