• Home
  • News
  • Singer Nahawa Doumbia adds to the Joy on Festive Women’s Day

Singer Nahawa Doumbia adds to the Joy on Festive Women’s Day

28 March 2018

  • By
  • Webmaster MFC
  • 2018

Singer Nahawa Doumbia adds to the Joy on Festive Women’s Day

Women from across Mali gathered in the small village of Bougoula to celebrate International Women’s Day. Music, singing, dancing and speeches underlined women’s crucial role in sustainable development

Mali’s world-famous singer Nahawa Doumbia added a considerable dosis of joy to the festive mood in the village of Bougoula on Saturday, 10 March.

On the occasion of International Women’s Day Mali Folkecenter Nyetaa handed out prizes to women from all over Mali. The award ceremony took place in the Sinsibere Cooperative, located in the village, 60 kilometers south of Bamako.

The award is given to women that have shown extraordinary resilience and initiative in their daily work to generate income for their communities affected by climate change.

The award ceremony is celebrated in connection with International Women’s Day on 8 March and is a newly established Mali Folkecenter activity that is planned to be held in coming years. For 2018 16 women and 4 men were nominated to receive the prize.

Nahawa Doumbia had agreed with the organizers to sing for 10 to 15 minutes. But the singer was so overwhelmed by the atmosphere and the importance of the event that she gave a performance that stretched over no less than seven long songs – to the wholehearted admiration of the many present women and the people from the village.

Mrs. Doumbia sang about rural life and hardships and the need to be resilient. In one song she reminded women and men of how important it is to stand together”: “United we are strong. Divided we are week “, she sang in Bambara.

Biankoro Coulibaly joins in the dancing
Biankoro Coulibaly joins in the dancing

She was accompanied by xylophone and drum rhythms delivered by local musicians that gave their very best to back up the famous singer.

Women in the audience surrounded the singer and danced with her and created an atmosphere that got so hectic that men in the crowd joined in with the dancers.

The actual award consisted of a statuette in wood in the shape of an antelope, a statuette traditionally given to the best farmers in the village, adorned with an inscription at the base stating “Mali Folkecenter Nyetaa – March 2018”.

Aminata Barrry receives her prize

Many of the 20 winners held acceptance speeches and expressed their gratitude and their commitment to continue the fight against climate change and for the empowerment of women and their communities.

One of them, 61-year-old Balakissa Sidibé, stressed that “It cannot be said enough times, but independent women are a prerequisite for sustainable development”. Women in the provinces have a strong and important role to play, she said: “”The solution for Mali is development in rural areas”.

Balakissa Sidibé

Mrs. Sidibe, who happens to be born on 7th March, the day before Women’s Day, is an example herself.

She has lived in neighboring West African countries for many years due to her husband’s work for UNICEF, but in 2012 she decided to settle in her hometown of Koumantou in the Sikasso region  instead of retiring in Bamako, like many others with such a background would do.

She decided to use her energy on developing her community, and since then she has contributed to empower other women and to generate income through a wide range of activities, such as production of shea butter for export and growing vegetables. Mrs. Sidibe also runs a bakery.

The Sinsibere cooperative on this festive day also received as guests of honor the village chief, Mr. Hamidou Coulibaly, and the mayor of Bougoula, Mr. Zoumana Coulibaly. Both gave eloquent speeches stressing their full encouragement to the women of Mali and to Mali Folkecenter’s initiative.

Mayor Zoumana Coulibaly and Nahawa Doumbia

The festivities were followed closely by old and young who were taken in by the extraordinary, forceful voice of Nahawa Doumbia, the engaged music and the energetic drums and the many colorful speeches.

Some hours into the afternoon of this hot and sunny Saturday in Bougoula the party faded out. The participants packed their bags and headed back to their rural homesteads across Mali. The village is back to normal – to the daily chores and the endeavors to generate income through well-established methods of growing vegetables and farming but also by testing new ways and ideas.

Mali Folkecenter has several new projects in the pipeline, in and around Bougoula, like introducing banana plants in the area. So far that particular experiment has proven so successful that several peasants in the region have started growing ​​this “newcomer” plant in Mali.

Read more about the Sinsibere cooperative and the annual Mali Folkecenter Award here (in French): note pour le 8mars2018_bougoula