My name is Marissa Coutinho Samake. I am Bahraini born and educated, Indian raised, married to a Malian for the last 14 years, studied in the US to get my Bachelor’s degree in Information Systems at Brigham Young University and been blessed with two inquisitive children.

I have been blessed with many opportunities as I grew up. I have two wondeindianrful parents that made sure my every need was fulfilled. I had access to quality education and a good health care system. I also had an opportunity to come study in America. I met my husband, Niankoro Yeah Samake, 14 years ago at Brigham Young University in Utah. 14 years ago he told me he wanted to be President of his country, I told him I wanted to be the next Madonna. 🙂 Today, he is closer to his dream.

We returned to Mali in 2011 so that Yeah could run for the presidency. The elections were to be held on 29th April 2012 with a final runoff in May. A military coup in 2012 destroyed the democracy of 22 years. Fresh elections were then held in July 2013. Unfortunately our hope for a new Mali did not see fruition.

In 2015 we came to India where Yeah was appointed as Ambassador of Mali to India and 9 other Asian countries. After two years we are now returning home to contest the elections once again in July 2018. 

We also continue our fight for a new Mali filled with opportunities for all Malians. We continue to do this through our foundation Empower Mali.

Empower Mali is a non profit foundation looking to improve access to education, healthcare, clean water, clean energy and leadership training. EM partners with local leaders and communities in Mali to create sustainable projects that move the community further. You can volunteer or donate at

Yeah still hopes to provide his country with quality education, healthcare and to also decentralize the government’s power back to local leaders. The hope is to lift Malians out of the corruption that has made their country the third poorest country.

This blog is an attempt to chronicle our journey which I am sure will be filled with fun times, times of distress and anxiety as the campaign progresses. It is also an attempt to keep in touch with all my wonderful friends out there and hopefully pick up a few 🙂


36 responses to “About

  1. Modibo Samake

    July 16, 2011 at 17:18

    Just let you know how much I enjoy reading your reading. You and your kids have impressed me a lot! I am glad to know how much progress you guys are doing now!

    • Modibo Samake

      July 16, 2011 at 17:20

      Sorry I meant how I enjoy reading your blog. Lol

  2. Jeff Winston

    August 3, 2011 at 16:00

    Thanks for sharing this. Your writing is very touching. We’re trying to spread the word!

    • Marissa Coutinho-Samake

      August 16, 2011 at 07:12

      Thank you Jeff. I am touched by your comments.

      • devika sequeira

        March 31, 2012 at 10:07

        Dear Marissa, I’m a journalist based in Goa, please send me your email address. DS

  3. play2win

    December 8, 2011 at 07:03

    Thanks a bunch for sharing this with all of us you actually recognize what you’re talking about! Bookmarked. Please additionally visit my website =). We could have a hyperlink change agreement among us

  4. Bill Cobabe

    December 13, 2011 at 14:48


    I had the honor of getting to know Yeah several years ago while we worked together at Morinda (Tahitian Noni) in the call Center. It is great to see him (you all!) doing so well. Please let Yeah know that I am very pleased to see all of this and that I wish him and you all much success and peace. Also, please tell him that I think he looks like a very old man. (He told me that this is a great compliment where he’s from…) 🙂 Please also tell him that I think he has a much longer life ahead of him as well.

    God speed you all!

    • Marissa Coutinho-Samake

      December 13, 2011 at 23:21

      Bill, Thank you for your kind, complimentary words. I will definitely pass on your wishes to Yeah. Keep the positive thoughts coming 🙂


    December 14, 2011 at 01:41


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    December 15, 2011 at 02:55

    My brother suggested I might like this website. He was once entirely right. This publish truly made my day. You can not imagine just how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

  7. kentslarsen

    January 4, 2012 at 01:29

    May I ask about the origin of the name “Coutinho”? I assume that is your maiden name, but you say you are Bahraini, yet that name sounds like it comes from a portuguese-speaking country! It is spelled the same as a common portuguese name. Is there a connection?

    • Samake

      January 4, 2012 at 08:05

      Kent that is my maiden name. My parents are from Goa, a ex-portuguese colony in India, hence the portuguese sounding surname. I was born in Bahrain and lived there for 19 years. I am still Indian in terms of legalities however. Bahraini born, Indian raised and excited to be in Mali.

  8. Jackie

    January 4, 2012 at 20:42

    Thanks for this blog – good for you and your little family! I believe we CAN change the world, one person at a time…Best wishes to your husband in his presidential aspirations. Keep up the “good fight”! (I am a wife, mom, grandma, & university student, living north of Calgary, Canada; I do health research, and I’m an enthusiastic supporter of development in other countries)

    • Samake

      January 4, 2012 at 21:51

      Thanks Jackie! Spread the word if you can. Like you said, we can all make a difference, one person at a time.

  9. Nelson Chung

    January 23, 2012 at 20:26

    greetings from DC from Yeah’s former BYU classmate. My roommate is a freelance writer associated with several Ghanaian and pan-African newspapers, and he would be glad to interview Yeah. Would the Samake campaign benefit from an interview?

    • Samake

      January 23, 2012 at 22:42

      Nelson, Absolutely!! We can do with all the publicity that we can get. Yeah can be reached via email at Thank you for reaching out to us. I will email his phone# to you as well. Thank you Marissa Samake

  10. Randi Hackle

    January 27, 2012 at 16:10

    Can I just say what a relief to find someone who actually knows what theyre talking about on the internet. You definitely know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people need to read this and understand this side of the story. I cant believe youre not more popular because you definitely have the gift.

  11. Mary Rehn

    February 11, 2012 at 20:51

    Greetings from Utah, I’m enjoying your blog along with Kyle’s e-mails and conversations via Skype as this wonderful opportunity for Kyle unfolds…As Kyle’s mother I am grateful for Yeah, yourself, and everybody else who Kyle meets while he’s there in Mali. I wish you lots of success and hope that Kyle can be of assistance.
    Thank you for making this experience possible.
    Sincerely, Mary Rehn

    • Samake

      February 11, 2012 at 20:54

      Mary, thank you for your well wishes. Kyle is an asset to this campaign and I am sure we will learn from him just as he does from this experience. Thank you for entrusting your son to our campaign. Warmest Regards, Marissa

  12. Brad Stacey

    February 29, 2012 at 15:53

    Hi there Marissa and Yeah!

    How are you doing?

    I am Julie Dixon’s brother, Scott’s brother-in-law, and have been wanting to contact you for a long time. I am an art teacher. My students did the 3 murals for the school just recently finished. I would like to know if I can become more involved with your goals for the progress of the Mali people and if my students can be given some more opportunity to make contributions to your people. I have a student who would like to do a portrait of Yeah and/or both of you. She has been inspired Yeah’s leadership and would like to enter a sculpture into the LDS International Youth Art Contest, then, eventually send the sculpture(s) on to you- to possible place in your office. Also, a symbolic sculpture of an aspiring youth leader, real or unreal, that she could make for sure for the Ben Dixon School. Maybe for the Head Master’s office, or for the main entrance area of the school. When you come over to America next she would like to cast you to then turn out an inspiring image that all would be proud to see and learn about. Could you e-mailme at Could you send pictures of multiple angles (front, profile, back, …more) that my student may refer to in her artwork? Is there anything, or any printable images that carry great significance to you and Mali’s future progress and natural beauty, and learning message points, that you could supply me with and that I could involve my students with. I am, my current sculpture student “Molly Comp” and her sister “Josie”, and my students are truly hoping that you both will consider us and use us in image creation for your beautiful and important part of this world. Classroom connections and students reaching out to one another-what a concept eh? How awesome for all who are involved!

  13. precinctal04

    March 24, 2012 at 18:50

    Yeah and Marissa,

    Steve Joseph here. We were with you in Apline First. I am a leadership/management consultant formerly with Covey Leadership Center.
    We have followed news of you and your family in Utah County’s local media.
    The news of the recent turmoil in your Country leaves us wanting to keep closer track of your journey.
    I found Marissa’s blog here.
    Are there other resources you could recommend that will help us follow you (facebook, etc).

    I am sure there is more we could do to help, but for the moment know we continue to be interested in you and your family.

    Best Wishes,

    Steve and Lorie Joseph
    801 358-5099

    In the mid 90’s, I hosted a senior elected official from Curacao (The Dutch Antilles/Carribean)
    in behalf of Dr Covey. He was interested in introducing Dr Covey’s principles to his country as a means of overcoming the corruption in the government. We sent one of our best trainers/consultants to live there and work with the government for a year. It’s been a long time and I haven’t stayed in touch but I could probably get in touch with that consultant and possibly the Government Leader to get their “lessons learned”.

    Just a thought.

  14. Jayachandran

    May 6, 2012 at 08:17

    Hai Marissa,

    How are you my “dotty” , its really surprising to read your blog, and I am very proud of you.My and my wifes best wishes to your hasbands Presidential ellection, and I pray to almighty you become the first lady of Mali. Good luck for Malian people elect “Yeah” and you all will enjoy the fruit of democracy.

    • Samake

      May 6, 2012 at 09:47

      Thank you Joy uncle. I appreciate your support. Please give my best to Aunty and Rohit.

  15. Devika Sequeira

    June 27, 2012 at 10:00

    Have sent you some more questions. Need inputs before you leave for Bahrain. Devika

  16. Devika Sequeira

    January 7, 2013 at 13:16

    Dear Marissa– trying to reach you.. please email me —Devika Sequeira Goa

  17. Loretta

    June 30, 2013 at 12:48

    From a fellow Goemkar, good wishes, Marissa. Truly, you are an asset to your husband’s political aspirations. Remember that God is no respecter of persons Acts 10:34 and will use anyone with a servant’s heart to accomplish His divine purposes. May God be with your family and may He bless Mali.

  18. Douglas Fernandes

    June 30, 2013 at 18:44

    Hi Marissa,I am a Goan, and happy to know about your endeavor in your husband’s political ambition. Hope his dreams come true and May the people of Mali develop .

  19. Trevor De Silva

    July 3, 2013 at 16:00

    Hi Marissa:

    Firstly we are ALL proud of you and your husband. We are also from Goa now in Canada
    and wish you the best. I was born in Zanzibar.

    We also have a BMX alumni for students from St Brittos, St Marys and St Xaviers (Mapusa)
    in Toronto. Did you attend any of these schools ? If so our next reunion could be in MALI !!!!

    It will be an honour if you keep in touch with our association….

  20. Saturnino

    July 29, 2013 at 04:53

    Hi Marissa, read about you in Times of India, the Goans are proud of you. I believe that there will be a celebration in your village. What a joy! You look serious, Good Luck to you and your family.

  21. Diogo Fichardo

    July 29, 2013 at 06:58

    Hi Marissa greetings to you and family. I wish you all the success in life. I also pray your dreams of transforming Mali comes true. As a Goan I am proud of You. God Bless.

  22. Bharat Kamat

    July 29, 2013 at 10:55

    Dear Madame Marissa
    Greetings from Goa.
    Best wishes for the verdict. Hope you and your team make it.

  23. Lara da Silva

    January 12, 2014 at 21:14

    Hello Marissa.
    I have just stumbled across your blog, and have consequently been reading and reading, and reading….. I have to say I am so moved by the heart you guys have for the country you call home. It’s inspirational.
    I want to quickly tell you a bit about my situation in the hope that perhaps it could be of some use to you. My name is Lara, my husband is Eugene. I am British and he is South African…. we have been living in South Africa now for 10 years. We have 3 children aged 9, 7 and 2.
    To cut a long story short we have both developed a love for the country of Mali. My husband was there in 2010. He is an architect and was working with FIFA on the Football for Hope centre in Baguineda – the host there was AMPJF. The people found a place in his heart and he has passed that on to me! My husband has always wanted to use architecture to improve the lives of those around him and indeed here in South Africa he has had opportunity to do so – a school for a local underprivileged community being the most recent.
    We have on our hearts to live and work in Mali, using architecture as a tool to reach out. As of yet we have no open doors in to Mali, but are eager to fill a need where we can.
    If you can use us to help you, please don’t hesitate to contact me on my email address. You can also visit my husbands website so you know you wouldn’t be wasting your time.
    It would be so great to hear from you.
    Much inspired.
    Lara da Silva.

  24. Maya Traore

    July 31, 2015 at 12:47

    I’m so happy and glad for reading this. It’s wonderful, it’s amazing. I hope you will win the next elections, I’m sure that you will make a better country for the malians, I belive in you.
    My husband is also from Mali, (exactly from the city of Kayes) and it’s crazy but every day I’m thinking about what can I do for his family and his people. Read this had filled up my heart, knowing that there are people interested in people, wanting to end corruption, that are working for the kids, for the poverty, to make Mali a better country. I’m so thankful to you, for making this website, for sharing this.

    Hope you the best.

    Maya Traoré.

  25. Trevor

    July 31, 2015 at 14:44

    I am from Goa but born in Zanzibar.I now live in Toronto, Canada.
    We are very proud that a Goan has been able to be in a position to
    effect change for very positive reasons.

    We hope you all the success to make Mali and consequently
    the world a better place.



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