This past week has seen an amazing development for a few of the 704 mayors of Mali. Invited by Yeah Samake and the Utah League of Cities and Towns, these mayors came to Utah to participate in a sharing of information and training. This is the first time an event of such nature has taken place between Utah and Mali. The idea behind bringing the mayors was to allow a partnership to be built between mayors in Utah and mayors in Mali.
“As Mayor of Ouelessebougou, Samake is trying to improve conditions in his community and raise the level of ethics in his country’s government. His push for transparency in a developing democracy is building confidence among communities, improving programs and services, raising tax collection rates, and bringing people out of the shroud of illiteracy that has dominated Mali for generations.” (The Cafe, Nov 28th 2011)
The Mayors’ days were filled with meetings with the different mayors in Utah and also with activities that supported Yeah’s campaign. By bringing these mayors to Utah, Yeah is demonstrating to his critics in Mali that he can and will support further training and development. He is better preparing these few mayors to look at their cities in a new light when they return. These meetings with Utah mayors will help show the Malian Mayors how to create better citizenship standards for their own communities. They have now learned how to address infrastructure needs, and the ethical responsibilities of being an elected official. This is the first step to creating a lesser corrupt Mali. And what will Utah gain? Utah mayors will gain knowledge on how things work in a developing country. This partnership promises to be of favor to all involved.
The move to create these opportunities is an essential first step in creating opportunities in Mali. Only when leadership is affected to develop their communities will change trickle to the different areas of Mali.