CARE Pathways relies on talented and creative staff to make its program model work in each of its country offices. In Mali, Mr. Mamadou Coulibaly, Program Manager for CARE Pathways in Mali, has helped Mali’s Pathways program expand and improve. Mamadou began working with Pathways in 2014 after coming from a position with Save the Children.
Mamadou is very proud of Pathways’ results in terms of increased yields for the three value chains Mali focuses on: shallot, rice, and millet. Millet production for participating farmers has increased from 597 kilograms per hectare to 1,100 kilograms per hectare and shallot production has increased from 20,000 kilograms per hectare to 40,000 kilograms per hectare.
In terms of women’s empowerment, Mali is very conservative and tradition is very strong. Women were not previously able to sit at the same place and discuss with men; they would be ashamed. Thanks to Pathways, women are more confident. They speak publicly. Women have greater mobility and are “free to go outside the village and negotiate at the market for better prices.”
As the Program Manager, Mamadou is in charge of all management. Because Mali is French-speaking and only one member of the Pathways core team speaks French, Mamadou is responsible for the transmission of information between the core team and the Mali team. “I am the link in terms of communication,” he says. Mamadou spends a large amount of time translating documents from English to French and vice versa, including documents submitted by partner NGOs. In addition, Mamadou supervises the budget and finances and does a great deal of coordination.
Moving forward, Mamadou is very excited about the coming year for Pathways. “The calendar is full, but I’m confident we can do it with good planning.” He hopes to consolidate what has been done so far as Pathways moves ahead and expands. He hopes to “make the most of this opportunity to consolidate, correct, and scale up” the Pathways model.
One of the things Mamadou is most proud of is his team’s innovative use of the personal participatory performance tracker (PPT), a tool designed to help staff track and analyze their own gender-related behavior changes. The Personal PPT helps the team recognize that “change starts in us before change occurs at the community level.” The tool itself is a great way to track behavior changes among staff, but Mamadou is most excited about the ways that the tools is used to improve program implementation. Describing how the Personal PPT has altered the team’s work, Mamadou says, “You should speak to them of your own experience.” The Personal PPT and the discussions it has sparked has helped the team to better understand the communities in which they worked and to be more tactful. It has also enabled the team to discuss sensitive topics like gender-based violence and to sensitize male champions to these topics. Finally, Mamadou believes the tool has helped his staff to truly appreciate the fact that “change takes time. It is not linear.”