Learn more about Mali Health

1. Tell us about your mission.

Mali Health improves maternal and child health by supporting women, communities, and the community health system to create local solutions that ensure every mother and child has access to high-quality primary care.   

 2. How is The West Foundation supporting your mission?

We are proud to call The West Foundation a partner and supporter. Not only is the philanthropic support needed and helpful, but we most appreciate being able to work with a partner who is aligned with our values. We believe in building local, bottom-up leadership, and in doing our work in a durable and equitable way. Being able to discuss the challenges we face, and have a partner truly understand them, makes such a difference in our ability to pursue our mission.

 3. Considering your impactful work to eliminate poverty, how is The West Foundation’s philanthropic support providing you with sustainability and mobility?

The West Foundation has been a long-term partner who shares our values of supporting community ownership and leadership of solutions to eliminate poverty and improve health. Creating more equitable community-led health systems, and putting women at the heart of them, takes time and the flexibility to adapt to local needs. Unrestricted support from the West Foundation allows us to be adaptive, by allowing us to meet the greatest needs. Their partnership allows us to be a better partner.

4. How are you realizing your potential?

We work with thousands of families across peri-urban communities in Bamako, using four different strategies to improve health. We have worked with communities to find effective solutions for over a decade and now that we have, we are looking for ways to sustain the impact of those solutions with local leadership and local financing. This is a challenging, long-term, and non-linear pursuit, but the one that is necessary and in our experience, the best way to ensure that every mother and child has access to quality healthcare, always.

 5. What’s one important thing you want others to know about your organization?

Everything we achieve is through a partnership with marginalized communities. We believe in strengthening existing community health systems by building local leadership and resources. We are guided by community priorities and community needs, not our own models and methods. 

Many look at the families and communities we serve and find them too poor to be active participants, often regarding them as the passive recipients of services only. We respect the agency and voice of all those with whom we work, and we support them in their desire to improve their communities and health. We believe that community ownership and leadership, especially among the most marginalized, is the key to achieving health for all in Mali’s decentralized health system.

 6. How can people reading this help you?

At the moment, donations are our greatest need. Responding to COVID-19 has required us to stretch in a lot of ways, including financially. We have had to spend less time fundraising and more time responding to ensure that the mothers and children we serve do not lose access to healthcare at this critical time. There is so much uncertainty for Mali and the world, but we are trying to prepare for whatever may be ahead. Buying a bar of our soap is another great way to support our mission, share the story of women we serve, and ensure that we all stay healthy during this pandemic.

 7. What are your deepest needs as an organization?  

We need more partners like The West Foundation! Not only is there a need for more funders to operate in true partnership with flexibility and trust, but there is a great need for funders who look at the impact a bit differently and put the needs of communities ahead of metrics, ideology, or marketing. For The West Foundation, good development is truly about the impact, and we truly need more partners like them.

Photo courtesy: Mali Health