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Over 92% of women and girls in Mali have been circumcised, one of the highest rates of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) in the world. PMC’s latest program, Jigi ma Tignè (“Hope Is Allowed”) addressed this harmful practice along with issues such as family planning, HIV/AIDS, and reproductive health.

Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) inhibits a girl’s right to a healthy and safe life. The psychological and physical harm FGM/C causes can be severe. Ending harmful traditional practices, such as FGM/C, that put a woman’s health at risk is crucial to achieving gender equity. Gender equity is key to achieving reproductive freedom, which enables women to have a say in how many children they want and protect themselves from unwanted pregnancy.

Jigi ma Tignè was broadcast from March to September 2009. The 74-episode drama was heard nationally on eight regional ORTM stations (the national radio network) and 50 local community radio stations.

In October 2008, PMC-Mali received a grant from USAID to incorporate a story line that would advocate for the rights of people living with disabilities. One of the benefits of PMC’s method is that it is able to address a wide array of issues and have an impact on each one.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 10% of people living in developing countries are disabled. Based on statistics concerning the different categories of disabled people in Mali and limited studies conducted by associations working with disabled people in Mali, 307,000 people are estimated to be living with mental disabilities, 300,000 are living with visual deficiencies, 343,000 are living with auditory deficiencies, and 211,000 are living with physical disabilities. This equates to approximately 13% of Mali’s population living with some type of disability.

People with disabilities are not only faced with the challenges presented by their condition, but are often confronted with discrimination in the community, the workplace, and even among family and friends. To address this issue, PMC is working closely with Trickle Up, a US-based organization working with disabled persons in northern Mali, and the Malian Federation of Associations working with Handicapped Persons (FEMAPH). To further understand some of the challenges for people living with disabilities, the PMC Mali team conducted several ethnographic studies of Trickle Up beneficiaries. The end result was the development of a fourth story line that evolved out of a real-life story about a female beneficiary of Trickle Up’s micro-loan program.

Click here to read story lines from Jigi ma Tignè.

Jigi ma Tignè is a follow-on to PMC’s first program in Mali, Cesiri Tono (“All the Rewards of Courage and Hard Work”). Cesiri Tono addressed issues of child slavery and the link between this problem and poverty-inducing factors, such as unwanted pregnancy and HIV/AIDS. The radio serial drama went on the air in November 2004 and was completed in October 2005. The program was broadcast by 169 community radio stations in Mali, Côte d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso. The Ashoka Foundation awarded PMC the Changemakers Innovation Award (one of three worldwide) in their global competition for the most creative programs designed to prevent human trafficking.

Photos from Mali