Panel will be delivered in a hybrid format. Moderator: Kelly Bohrer, University of Dayton ETHOS

  • Anna Taft, The Tandana Foundation

  • François Chauvet , The Tandana Foundation
  • Kessia Kouriba, The Tandana Foundation
  • Hawa Yalcouyé, The Tandana Foundation
  • Moussa Tembiné, The Tandana Foundation
5-6:15 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023, Room M2380

Subscribe to RSS Feed

Thursday, November 2nd
5:00 PM

Transforming Gender Norms in Rural Mali by Opening Spaces for Action

Kelly Bohrer, University of Dayton
Anna Taft, The Tandana Foundation
François Chauvet, The Tandana Foundation
Kessia Kouriba, The Tandana Foundation
Hawa Yalcouyé, The Tanadana Foundation
Moussa Tembine, The Tanadana Foundation


5:00 PM - 6:15 PM

Communities in the Tommoguiné Region of Mali are actively pursuing development despite economic challenges, insecurity, and isolation from many opportunities. Historically, the marginalization of women and girls has held back some of these efforts and denied certain rights to some of the population. Currently, a transformation of norms surrounding women’s roles in public life and of practices harmful to women and girls is taking place, inspired by a Women’s Literacy, Leadership, and Enterprise program generated through a transnational collaboration between local communities, a Malian linguistic association, and The Tandana Foundation, a Dayton-based non-profit organization. Instead of reinscribing colonial dynamics, this partnership opens spaces for action that enable communities to change norms and practices on their own terms. Women who have participated in this program are making their voices heard in local decision-making fora in ways that were not accepted before, disrupting economic exploitation by exercising new literacy and numeracy skills, and leading transformations of marginalizing practices, such as early, forced marriage. By focusing on opening spaces for action, rather than attempting to fabricate social reality to fit a preconceived vision, this program avoids the dangers inherent in approaching human affairs as if they could be made, as mainstream development has so often done. It embodies an alternative approach that allows the opportunities of action--expressiveness, the remedy of forgiveness, allowance of the unexpected, inclusiveness, flourishing of human relationships, and emergence of meaning—to enable genuine and durable changes. This form of transnational collaboration offers an example of educational, economic, civic, and cultural engagement that supports locally-led transformations that increase inclusion and expand opportunities. In this panel discussion, two Malian practitioners will share their experiences supporting transformations at the grassroots level, an American practitioner-scholar will connect philosophical insights with concrete practices, and a Mexican simultaneous interpreter will facilitate immediate bilingual comprehension.