"I met Mariama in her hometown of Goudiry, in the region of Tambacounda.
Situated in the east of Senegal, Tambacounda is one of the country’s most
impoverished, marginalized regions, with some of the worst levels of health and
education outcomes. The region is hours from Dakar, the capital, where I grew
up and had the privilege of enjoying modern amenities, a high-quality education
and easily accessible healthcare services.
At 13-years-old, Mariama is the youngest of five children. Her two brothers
work with their father, a cattle herder, while her two sisters were both
married off young—as is traditional in the community—and they now sell fruit by
the roadside. None of the children received a formal education.
Mariama looked set to follow a similar path to her older sisters. In fact, up
until recently her daily life was consumed by the responsibilities of fetching
water and helping with household chores. The dream of attending school and
exploring other opportunities seemed unattainable.
However, Mariama was selected as one of 900 vulnerable girls aged 10-17 in the
region to be a part of the government-led Invest in Maternal and Child Health -
ISMEA pilot project, which aims, among other things, to promote maternal and
adolescent health and empowerment, and is supported by the Global Financing
Facility (GFF) and the World Bank. Delivered in partnership with the community,
this project is now helping to unlock opportunities and break cycles of
Via Future Crunch
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics