Convincing the village chief of Wéwo

Wéwo is a village located in the commune of Yeredon Saniona (district of Niono, region of Segou, Mali). The inhabitants are mainly nomadic Fulani breeding cattle. They move along, depending on the availability of pasture, towards other villages in the district and beyond. The residents of Wéwo are all Muslims, with no Iman (religious leader) or Mosque or Koranic center. In general, they are reluctant to send their children to school: no other education facility exists in Wéwo. Instead, children who are old enough to go to school are taught how to breed cattle and work as shepherds. Girls are often married off early.

It is within this context that, in 2013-2014, the implementation of the CLFZ approach began. After several sensitization sessions with various stakeholders (local authorities, CAP, Civil Service, NGOs, volunteers), the village adopted the CLFZ approach. The school started on January 23rd, 2014.

According to some people, the village chief became suspicious about school and became quite an obstacle to the running of the new school in his village, because of the rivalry between him and other people in the village who were “in favor of” school. As a result, the temporary shelter that served as a classroom was not rebuilt before the 2015-2016 school year. During the regular consultation meetings held in the commune, and chaired by the sub-Prefect, the issue of Wéwo’s school was debated and the village chief was called in for questioning.

Several sensitization missions were undertaken in the village. The Mothers’ Association (MA) in Wéwo got mobilized for the schooling of children. All these activities failed to make the village chief back down. Then, the sub-Prefect, a very committed person to the good effect of sensitization, threatened to suspend him from office if he still refused to fight in the cause of schooling. Following the threat of the Sub-prefect, the chief of the village began showing signs of commitment by building a temporary shelter for the school. Classes resumed in November 2015.