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A New Adventure!

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Well! It’s all official. The President of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, nominated Yeah the new Ambassador of Mali to India.

My country INDIA!! Whohooo!!! I am super excited to return back to my country. After 4+ years in Mali, the kids and I have had a wonderful opportunity to learn and experience the Malian culture and traditions. We have come to love the Malian people like our own and to understand intimately the many challenges they face on a daily basis. Through Yeah’s role as Mayor, we have enjoyed many unique experiences and learned much about local governance and the ability to impact the citizens of Oueléssébougou. Running the campaign was a whole different ball park and it was probably the biggest challenge we have lived through. The kids have adapted amazingly well to life in Mali. We came here when Keanen was 5 years old and Carmen barely 3, where they knew only English and the comforts of America. When we first came, the adjustment was hard, the challenges many. But we were blessed with courage at our most difficult times. Now the kids speak French fluently and I have been able to learn both French and Bambara. Through school and our different road trips, our children have enjoyed the beauty of experiencing different cultures. They have accompanied us on the many projects that have taken us to many villages and communities all over Mali. Road trips took on a whole new meaning and I have to say they have loved it!! Through our foundation Empower Mali, we have continued to partner with rural communities in Mali to make an impact in education, clean water/energy and leadership development. The high level partnerships and contacts we have in Mali and the United States will allow us to continue fundraising and implementing the work we are doing. We have no plans to stop building schools, providing scholarship opportunities abroad or increasing access to basic rights like clean water and food.

So much accomplished and so many great experiences lived in just 4 years. When I first started this blog 4+ years ago, I could not have predicted this. I can hardly wait to see what the next few years hold for our family. India will be a new experience for us all. It has been 15+ years since I have visited. I am excited for the kids to learn my own culture/traditions and get to experience the different religions and exotic cultures all housed in one beautiful country. Not to mention the opportunity to travel the many surrounding countries where we will also serve.

While we will mainly be based in New Delhi, the India Mission will cover 10 different Asian countries. We will have an opportunity to serve Malians and grow relations between Mali and all these countries. The countries are: India, Bangladesh, Nepal , Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei Darussalam and Thailand. For 11+ years, Yeah has shown he can help move Mali forward at a local and national level. Now I am thrilled that he has received the opportunity to play this role and will be able to make an impact on a larger national and international level. In this day and age, Asia has shown herself to be a big player and by helping grow relationships Yeah has the opportunity to create many partnerships that will help many Malians abroad and at home.

Yeah said the following in a recent press release: ” Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta announced that he has appointed me as the next Malian Ambassador to the Republic of India. The jurisdiction of the post in New Delhi, India covers 10 countries: India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam.

As a result of this appointment, I will soon travel to India with my family to begin my work representing Malian interests in these countries. I am grateful to President Keïta for this opportunity and look forward to representing Mali in this new role.

Malians benefit in many ways from trade with India, whether it be through our increased electricity or access to high-quality medicines resulting from Indian imports, or from our sales of cotton and other agricultural products to India that puts money in the pockets of Malians across the country. This continued and growing trade partnership is improving the lives of citizens in both countries, and I look forward to building upon this relationship in the coming years.

As Mayor of Oueléssébougou over the last six years, I have worked tirelessly to improve the lives of everyone in our area. When I was first elected, less than ten percent of the population paid taxes, and government workers were owed six months of salary. When measured in terms of our governmental management and transparency, our commune was at the bottom of the list. Six years later, I am proud to say we have transformed our area, making it one of the most respected and admired areas in all of Mali. Today, 86 percent of our citizens pay taxes, and our area is seen as a model of transparent and effective government. Working with our city council and other local leaders, I have also brought investment and critical infrastructure to our area as well. We now have a hospital in our area. We have a high school for our children, and we have more primary schools as well. We have improved our water infrastructure. We have the largest solar panel field in West Africa. We are helping farmers with equipment so they can make their land more productive. Instead of citizens waiting weeks for their local government to help them with requests, now they wait only days—with many receiving help on the same day. We have shown this type of transformation is possible in Mali.

In recent years, I have also worked as a part of Empower Mali and other foundations to help build schools for our children, provide scholarship opportunities to children in Mali to study abroad, purchase tractors for our farmers, and construct hospitals for our communities. While I am committed to my role as Ambassador, I will also continue to actively ensure through my contacts on the ground that our projects on the ground in Mali continue to grow, benefiting the communities in rural Mali. I urge Foundation benefactors to continue to support this work and encourage others to get involved as well.

I have worked hard every day as Mayor of Oueléssébougou to make lives better. It is with great honor that I accept the position of Ambassador to India, and I look forward to continuing my service to Mali in this new role. While this new position will take me away from my friends in and around Oueléssébougou, it will give me the opportunity to improve the lives of all Malians across the country and abroad. ”

This opportunity is just simply amazing! We are emboldened by the vote of confidence shown by the Malian government. I am so proud of Yeah and all he has done and continues to do to make Mali a better place. I have not met a more honest man or one that is very committed to making an impact for all his people in Mali. We are so grateful for all our supporters who have stayed the course with us. Our success today is in part due to your vote of confidence and support for all we do.

The journey to achieve a new Mali is not over yet. In fact, we have started a new phase. Keep you posted. Thank you for helping bless our people in Mali. May you be blessed!

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* Check out our work in Mali through the Empower Mali Foundation at www.empowermali.org
Want to help impact change in rural Mali? Make a tax deductible donation today. All donations online are secure. Checks can also be sent to Empower Mali, P.O Box 708514, Sandy, UTAH 84070.

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MOVING MALI FORWARD

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2015 in Past Posts

 

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Moving Forward

On July 28th 2013, 48% of Malians went to the polls to choose their leader. We thank all our supporters in the United States, Mali and the rest of the world who have kept our presidential dream alive. We thank you for the countless prayers and financial contributions that have allowed us to compete with other candidates with deep pockets and keep going in the face of much adversity and challenge.

During the first round, the top contenders were 68 year old IBK versus 64 year old Soumaila Cisse. Both men have had extensive experience in the government. The second round was held on August 11, 2013. From provisional results released a few days ago, IBK seems to be the victor. If true, he will become the President of Mali for the next 5 years.

Our party, which is a 2 year young party, placed 16th out of 28 candidates. While we are very disappointed at our performance and were hopeful for a more successful outcome, we are proud of the people of Mali who acknowledged the accomplishments of PACP versus other parties that have been on the political scene for more than 10 years. It brought hope back to us that people do want change and it is our responsibility to continue to educate many more fellow Malians about who we are and what we can do for Mali.

It was a great honor for us to participate in the race for the Presidency. Through our candidacy and campaign to turn the page of 20 years of mismanagement, we met with Malians inside and outside to understand their aspirations, their concerns, their expectations and their dreams.

During the second round, Yeah chose to not follow any of the two top candidates IBK or Soumaila Cisse. Throughout the campaign, our slogan has been to turn the page on old government and corruption. By supporting either of these candidates Yeah would have been compromising our strong stance on the need for change. Many of the young candidates chose to go with IBK in the second round. Many of these same candidates had been strong critics of the government and the need for change. When Yeah decided to go with neither candidate, people in Mali were amazed. Many people have congratulated Yeah for remaining true to his conviction and not being swayed by promises of money or a position in the new government. On the other hand, some of our opponents have launched political attacks to destroy our credibility.

The time is unsure right now for us right now. Despite this setback, we believe that no matter what the result, we will continue to serve the people of Mali in some capacity. If the new administration calls us to serve in a certain area, despite our political differences, that is something we will seriously consider in order to impact Malians in that area.

We will also continue to put attention and fund-raise for our Utah-based foundation Empower Mali.

Empower Mali was created to meet the growing need in the areas of education, healthcare and access to basic necessities in the rural communities of Mali, West Africa. Understanding that no one knows better how to resolve the issues of their community than the community members themselves, Empower Mali forms a unique partnership with the community connecting resources with communities in need. The ultimate goal is to raise Mali out of poverty, one community at a time. Empower Mali maintains a close partnership with communities, government and local authorities in Mali. We understand that local participation is key to the success of any sustainable development.

We are excited to start on projects in Mali. We already have funds raised to build one school which is in progress and we are currently raising funds for a Light-A-Village project to help bring lighting to a rural village in Mali. You can find out more at http://goalzero.fundly.com/empower-mali. We all have the ability to make a difference in the world. Check us out at www.empowermali.org or find out how you can affect Malians for good at info@empowermali.org

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The story has just begun. At the end of the day, we will accept and fulfill any role that allows us to fulfill our great ambition of bringing change to Mali. We will continue to keep you updated on our journey.

This has been an incredible experience and we are very grateful for your support and investment in our ambition to improve the lives of the Malian people. This journey would have been incomplete without the support of each and every one of you who cheered us on. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for making this dream a reality and for believing in us.

I assure you that our fight for a new Mali is just beginning!

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2013 in Past Posts

 

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Why we do what we do

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Think about the future of your children when you vote

 

With 5 days to go, all I can say is Mali’s future is at stake. We are determined now more than ever to affect change. Mali cannot remain destitute for 20 more years.

On July 28th, Malians will choose their destiny. They will either say they want to stick with the old corrupt guards or go with a new leader with fresh ideas and someone who has served them.

For us the Presidency is a means to an end. An end in which we can make Mali the great, prosperous nation that can enjoy education and healthcare for all citizens.

This video captures perfectly our vision and our passion. We thank our Alma Mater BYU for sharing our story. We all have the ability to make a difference in our own corner of the world. Don’t miss it!

Here are some shots from the last few days of campaigning in Koutiala, San, Segou, Commune IV, Kenedougou, Koury and Mopti to name a few

I thank all our supporters for donating to our campaign, especially when we issued an announcement for a $30,000 need. In the last three days we were able to raise $10K. We are still trying to raise $20000 to be used on the actual day of elections to be able to send our members in each voting area to ensure no voter fraud happens. There are 8 regions in Mali containing 703 cities. The money covers their transportation to/from the regions and their food.

Asking for money is not something I am comfortable doing. But we need your help. If you can help, no matter how big or small, please help push us closer to that $20,000 goal. 

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God bless Mali and all Malians everywhere!

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2013 in Past Posts

 

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ITS OFFICIAL!

Quick update! Friday, June 28th was the deadline to declare our candidacy with 5 signatures from each region supporting our candidacy (TOTAL: 55 signatures) and pay a fee of 10 million CFA. You are probably thinking, 55 signatures, no biggie. Well, when you are take into account 3 regions ( Gao, Tombouctou and Kidal) that are involved in insecurity and terrorism, things become a little different. Our party has been blessed with members that are willing to take risks to travel into these regions, meet with the leaders there to get the sponsorships needed.

So far 36 candidates have submitted dossiers of signatures and the fee of 10 million CFA. However the Constitutional court has to validate the final number and make sure that the signatures gathered are valid and belong to deputees and counselors in each region. We hope to hear how many official candidates there are this coming week as campaigning officially begins in Mali on July 7th.

I am excited and humbled that we could make this grand milestone with 65 signatures from all regions in Mali. This would not be possible without each and every one of you contributing to our success and efforts.

Getting ready to submit the sponsorship signatures to the Malian Constitutional Court

Getting ready to submit the sponsorship signatures to the Malian Constitutional Court

We are so appreciative and blessed by your support.

Keep the fire burning at www.samake2013.com. We do not need 20 more years of corruption, inefficiency, bad governance and bad healthcare. Mali needs your support! We need you to help us make this happen!

 

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2013 in Past Posts

 

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Last Barrier to Elections removed

On June 18th, an important step was taken in the resolution of Mali’s 18 month long political and security crises.  Since the French assisted the Malian army in removing the terrorist threat of Al-Qaeda and MUJAO in Tombouctou and Gao, one region remained under rebel control. This region in the North East of Mali was Kidal.

Kidal has remained a sore point for many Malians and a dilemma for the international community.  Since France gave military assistance in January, Kidal has been occupied by the Malian Tuareg rebel group called the National Movement of Azawad (MNLA). Their demands were for a separate, autonomous region called AZAWAD.  Since January, they have installed their own people in administrative positions and not allowed any Malian/international forces in. The Tuaregs are a very small minority in Mali holding less than 10% of the population. For many years they have felt marginalized and felt like they were not treated fairly by the Malian government. France did not want to get involved in Kidal because in essence they would be killing Malians and this could backfire on them. They also prevented the Malian army from entering Kidal because of the potential problems that could come from Malians fighting Malians, but more importantly acts of terror against the people that had aggressed the Malian army just a year ago. While France was initially hailed as a hero for its help in January, most Malians regarded with suspicion and disgust that the French stopped the Malian army from entering Kidal. There was a split between Malians who said they would not vote without one of their regions Kidal being included.

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Last week, a tremendous step forward was made, when an agreement was signed between the MNLA and the Malian government in Burkina Faso.  While the agreement does not resolve the root issue of the problem,  it does allow decisions concerning the stability of the country to be made by a legitimate government rather than an interim government with limited powers. The main issue is that the Tuaregs feel marginalized and uncared for by their central government and so it will be essential for the new government to address this concern.

The next President will have to make it a priority to hold a national dialogue to determine how the issue can be resolved satisfactorily with all parties involved.  For a lasting stability and prosperity, the people of Mali ought to be inspired to a stronger commitment to democratic values and standard economic principles. Corruption must be stamped out to allow proper and equitable allocation of the resources and foster foreign direct investment for the creation of decent employment.

The agreement includes acceptance by MNLA that Mali will not be broken up. In addition, the requirement was made that the MNLA withdraw from Kidal and the Malian army and international forces be allowed to take up position within the region. This interim setup will permit the people of Kidal to participate in Malian presidential elections scheduled for July 28. The MNLA had also asked for amnesty for war crimes, but the government did not agree to this and asked that this be reviewed by a joint commission.

While this treaty is not a permanent solution, it does allow the country as a whole to move forward towards elections. It does allow all ethnic groups in Mali to participate in choosing the nation’s next leader. So in no way can groups claim that the elections were not fair due to Kidal not being involved.

Last month, Yeah had called on the government to step down if Kidal is not released before the election. So with this new development of an agreement reached, Yeah congratulated the government on reaching a settlement with the Tuareg group as a means to an end. The bigger goal of elections and a democratic country need to be achieved first before a long lasting solution with the Tuaregs can be established. It is in this tone, that Yeah extended well wishes. Now the country has a month left before the first round of elections on July 28th.

As we prepare here in Mali for July 28th, I send a special thank you to all our friends, family members and well wishers. We are blessed by your support, prayers and thankful for your kind words of encouragement. The dream we have is a Mali filled with opportunity and hope for all Malians. It is a dream that can become a reality with the right leadership. That leader is Yeah Samaké.

Today, I ask you share our story and website (http://www.samake2013.com) via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Email etc. with one friend or family member. Today, I ask you to share the story of hope we have for a Mali filled with opportunity for every Malian. Your voice is your vote for a new day in Mali. Thank you again for sharing this journey with us!

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2013 in Past Posts

 

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Service Before Politics

This past week was charged and full of some great events and service projects that we did in the various areas of Bamako, the capital of Mali.

Our PACP delegation headed to Baguineda where our resident eye doctor and Secretary General of PACP Aboubacar Sidiki Fomba donated his services to do free cataract surgery. In Mali, to remove cataracts, it costs about 50000 cfa ( $100) per eye. Now think about it. An average Malian will not make more than a $1.25 per day. In fact, most Malians will forgo the cost of an eye surgery because the need of food and other basic amenities for their family is a priority. Fomba has donated his services in many areas. The newest was Baguineda. In Baguineda many older people and young children were brought to get eye tests done and then the surgery. In one case, a man told us that he had bad cataracts for a few years now, and for the first time he was now able to see clearly. It makes me sad when I hear about the lack of access our people have to healthcare. With there being few specialized eye doctors, prices are high for a Malian and for many the cost is their sight. This is not the first time that the party has provided free healthcare clinics. Since the party was started in 2011, the doctors in the party have banded together to provide free healthcare services in many villages in Mali. People are amazed when they see a party that serves before they engage in politics. However, in regards to Yeah, this is nothing new. Yeah has brought many doctors and dentists to his own areas which has served people from regions as close as Sikasso and as far as Kayes. People are amazed when they hear about what Yeah has done because in essence their own leaders have failed them for so long. For them to imagine that there is  a political leader that has served his community and impacted lives is a stretch because for too long politicians have lined their pockets and not helped the country.

The next day, our delegation headed to Yirimadjo to establish and recognize a sub section of our Party PACP. The youth of Yirimadjo committed their support to the campaign.  The President of the PACP section there, Fidelle Samake confirmed their support to PACP and to continuing the fight for new leadership in Mali.

The following day, the delegation made up of PACP members Fomba, Djeneba, Kone, Fifi and Fatoumata headed to Niarela. Again they established and confirmed a sub section in Niarela. The President of the sub section, by the name of Nientao, had gathered together quite a crowd of youth in Niarela. They committed their support. To add to this great evening, the leader of the women by the name of Sympara, committed that she would support Yeah Samake and the PACP vision for a new day in Mali.

Also, an amazing movement has been growing in Mali. Recently our youth bureau headed by our youth leaders Sibiri Mariko and Salif Tigana launched a new project. They created a short video showing Yeah’s bio and all the things Yeah has done for Mali. The amazing thing about this video is that it is transferable by phones. If anything, almost 3 out 5 Malians possess a phone, if not more. So this is awesome, because we can now transfer this video and in essence create a ripple effect. In addition, our youth bureau is going full steam ahead by showing this video on projectors to large crowds during the night and on laptops/notebooks with small groups during the day in all the communes in Bamako. We hope to spread to the rural regions as well with the video, but given that this video is transferable, we can just simply send this to our section leaders in the different communes and have them show it and spread it among their communities.So far the video has been displayed on a project in 2 of the 6 communes within Bamako. Each time we had a huge number of people show up to watch the movie and find out about Yeah Samake. Bamako is one area where we have not focused our resources because a majority of Malians live in the rural areas.However people that watch this video are amazed. Many in Bamako are surprised that there exists a man who has served before he got into politics. It is like the lamp of hope re-illuminates and many of them will take the video and even give their contact info so we can get them involved in the party

I love the energy of our youth. They give me the strength and courage to continue our work. More than anything, our youth that form more than 50% of the population deserve a chance to break the cycle of poverty and desperation.  I am truly psyched at the possibilities with this group!!! They know what they want and they are not afraid to think outside the box to make it happen.

It just amazes me how each day we get new supporters. These new sub sections are a sign of growth, of life, of desire for change. Malians are eager to kill the python that has choked them for so long. They are eager to see beyond the expired visions of a failed country with no opportunities.

Please invest in our country’s future. Mali and Malians need your prayers and support. They need your voice to spread the word about Yeah Samake. We need your donation to spread this campaign in every corner of Mali. The first step to a prosperous future is getting Yeah elected. Be the spark of change and part of this amazing campaign at http://www.samake2013.com

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2013 in Past Posts

 

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Campaigning in the distant villages of Kati

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This past week was a busy one for the PACP campaign. Our youth leader Sibiri Mariko led our PACP delegations to a number of communities in Mali.

The first village that the PACP delegation went to was N’gorogodji which has about 1160 inhabitants and is in the Kati area . The village is one of the five villages that make up the municipality of Kambila. The delegation consisted of Sibiri Mariko, Sekou Traoré, Sidiki Sangaré, and Mahamane Maiga. To start of the meeting, the PACP representatnt of N’gorogodji Konimba Kané spoke. He spoke with great disgust at the politicians who visit the area and how all the promises they had made for the last 50 years had not been kept.  He then introduced the PACP delegation and allowed Sibiri Mariko to explain who PACP was and what they hoped to accomplish for Mali. He spoke of all Yeah has done for Mali already. The PACP leader in the area then urged the participants to vote for PACP and the young candidate Yeah Samake.  The major concern in this area is the high number of unemployed graduates. PACP committed to work hard to help better the lives of the people of N’gorogodji.  The residents there gave the party many blessings and urged them to continue their hard work.

The delegation also held a meeting with the youth at the national bureau of PACP to discuss Kati. There they met with the PACP youth leaders in the area and made plans on how to mobilize leaders within the community to better spread the word about PACP.

The delegation then continued on to Diaguinebougou where they met with the founding family. The members listened to the PACP delegation and made a firm commitment to support Yeah Samake and PACP.

The next day, the delgation now made up of Sibiri MARIKO, Abdrahame Mariko, Sékou Traoré, Moussa Maiga, Sidiki Dembélé and Mahamane Maiga visited Doubabougou. Doubabougou is a village and rural commune in the Cercle of Kati in the Koulikoro Region of south-western Mali. The commune contains 6 villages and has a population of 8,041+. The PACP leader there by the name of Moussa Kouyaté, introduced the PACP delegation and welcomed them to the area. Sibiri, after explaining about the party’s vision and who Yeah Samake is, called on the village to help change happen in Mali. The youth of the village had created a slogan:”Le changement radical” (The radical change) when they campaigned for PACP and Sibiri emphasized this same slogan as he spoke to the villagers. The villagers showered their blessings on the party of change and its delegation and urged them to continue their mission in all the villages of Mali.

Meetings like these are so essential. They help us determine what the needs of the Malian population are. No candidates will usually visit these areas and so the people have grown disillusioned with politics and politicians in general. Seeing candidates like Yeah Samake and the PACP party that take the time to travel to these far areas gives people hope that if they choose a leader like this, their needs will be met by the President. How can you bring your people hope and change if you do not know what afflicts them. PACP is the party of change. The party that will welcome a new day in Mali because it truly understands the chains that hold back many ordinary Malians from the different walks of life.

Many more meetings like this must happen. Today I ask you to donate $50 at http://www.samake2013.com which helps us pay the gas and chair rentals for the trip to one distant village. Today I ask you to become part of this journey and make the lives of ordinary Malians better by helping elect YEAH SAMAKE. This happens only if we can educate every corner of Mali about what their options are and who Yeah is. Today, I humbly come to you with open hands and ask for your investment in my Mali. 

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2013 in Past Posts

 

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