Refilwe Moahi (Mali)

Refilwe Moahi

Refilwe was born and raised in Botswana. Prior to her fellowship, she completed her MA in Sustainable International Development at Brandeis University’s Heller School of Social Policy and Management. Most recently, she worked with Oxfam America in Boston as Campaigns Organizing Fellow supporting legislative and corporate campaigns that focus on international food justice, food security, economic inequality, and issues of transparency in the extractive industries. Prior to that, she worked with the Andando Foundation in rural Senegal, where she fell in love with West Africa, managing micro development programs on food and water security and income generation that directly benefit women and children. She also worked with the Government of Botswana’s Department of Women’s Affairs supporting women’s small enterprises and raising awareness about gender-based violence and HIV/AIDS. She also holds a BA in Politics & International Relations and French Studies from Scripps College.

28 Dec

What I will miss about Mali

It has been a week since I returned from Mali. After spending a summer in Senegal, the academic year in Boston, and then the past seven months in Mali, it was the longest I had gone without coming home. It has been wonderful reuniting with my parents, brothers, other relatives, and close friends. It has […]

Posted By Admin

Posted Dec 28, 2015

19 Nov

What is in a word: Malian language and Malian values

Malians are very religious and welcoming people, who value peace and good health, and this is very evident in their language and the way they express themselves. With the majority of the population being Muslim, the national language, Bambara, also includes Arabic words and phrases here and there. In the greetings alone, we can see […]

Posted By Admin

Posted Nov 19, 2015

04 Oct

The Miracle of Shea Butter

I recently visited Kayo, a village about an hour and a half outside of Bamako in Koulikoro region with AP director Iain Guest, Zivik partner Valentin Wasilew, and Sini Sanuman president Siaka Traore. The purpose of our visit was to see how shea butter, a key ingredient in one of our soaps and a popular […]

Posted By Admin

Posted Oct 04, 2015

15 Sep

Meet Sini Sanuman’s Outreach Coordinator: Mariam Seck


Sini Sanuaman’s outreach coordinator, Mariam Seck, has always been passionate about the rights of women and children. She has been working for the organization since 2009. Initially a community outreach worker, her role quickly grew as she also began to train other outreach workers, community leaders, groups of women and youth, and people involved in […]

Posted By Admin

Posted Sep 15, 2015

14 Sep

Traditional Dance and the Local Music Scene

Kamale Ngoni, Photo: Youtube

One Saturday afternoon a few weeks ago, I drove to Nafadji, a neighborhood on the outskirts of Bamako, with my housemate and her husband to check out a dance troupe. I had previously mentioned to my housemate that I was interested in taking a traditional Malian dance class. With so many different ethnic groups, Mali had […]

Posted By Admin

Posted Sep 14, 2015

08 Aug

A conversation with Assetou Touré, passionate community outreach worker

Assetou Touré doing what she does best

Towards the end of a very busy day of financial donor reporting the power went off, and with it went the Wi-Fi connection, the cool air from the fans, and the battery of my laptop that I had just started charging. Power cuts are pretty common; in the hot season, they occur almost everyday for […]

Posted By Admin

Posted Aug 08, 2015

02 Aug

Reaching Communities about Harmful Practices

Sini Sanuman has ten community organizers – 7 in Bamako and 3 in Bourem – and an outreach coordinator. Each of these organizers is allocated a zone and is charged with raising awareness about sexual and gender based violence and female genital mutilation within that community. The main way they do this is through group […]

Posted By Admin

Posted Aug 02, 2015

19 Jul

Henna and Bassan: A Malian Wedding

This week, one of my coworkers, secretary and accountant, Sitan Konaté, celebrated her religious wedding. The whole office, as well as the community organizers attended and celebrated with her. It was held on the 26th day/ 27th night of Ramadan, which is considered a blessed day to get married. So, as you can imagine, everyone […]

Posted By Admin

Posted Jul 19, 2015

13 Jul

Meet Sini Sanuman’s Program Assistant: Awa Sangaré

Awa Sangaré

The person I have been working closest with at Sini Sanuman has been the program assistant, Awa Sangaré. Awa, 34, was brought on as an English-speaking assistant to help the organization communicate in both English and French. We produce reports, newsletters, and other documents in both languages together. Prior to joining Sini Sanuman last year, […]

Posted By Admin

Posted Jul 13, 2015

08 Jul

A Story of War Rape


Fatoumata*, a 40-year-old woman from Gao, is a war-rape survivor of Mali’s bloody civil war. As soon as we ask the first question – Where are you from? – tears well up in her eyes. Fatou lost her husband to natural causes/old age before the conflict began. When Tuareg rebels stormed Gao in 2012, Fatou […]

Posted By Admin

Posted Jul 08, 2015

26 Jun

June 20: World Refugee Day and Mali Peace Deal

School in Mbera refugee camp in Mauritania. Photo: Joe Penney/Reuters

June 20th marked World Refugee day, originally Africa Refugee Day, a day that honors and raises awareness about the conditions of those who have been displaced by violence and conflict. This year, June 20th also marked the day that the Tuareg and Arab rebels, known as the Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA), signed the peace […]

Posted By Admin

Posted Jun 26, 2015

19 Jun

Ramadan in Bamako

This week, I’m branching out; I’ve decided to start walking to and from work. It is about a 20-minute walk and I figured a little bit of exercise would be good for me. Previously, I was taking the Sotrama, which stands for “Société de Transport du Mali”, to work because everything seems far when you […]

Posted By Admin

Posted Jun 19, 2015

13 Jun

Music and Kindness as Universal Languages

During my first week in Bamako, I have been struck by how kind and generous people can be with their time. Prior to coming here, I heard about the kindness of Malians from a few different people, but I have still been pleasantly surprised by how willing they are to go out of their way […]

Posted By Admin

Posted Jun 13, 2015

02 Jun

Peace Fellow Training, Camel Soap, and Ali Farka Touré

In just three days I will arrive in Bamako, the capital city of Mali. I am both excited and extremely nervous about what awaits me. Moreover, I am relieved—my mother especially so—to have safe housing and other logistical matters nearly figured out. I will stay at the infamous Sleeping Camel for my first few nights, […]

Posted By Admin

Posted Jun 02, 2015





AP on Flickr

A photo on Flickr
A photo on Flickr
A photo on Flickr
A photo on Flickr
A photo on Flickr
A photo on Flickr