UPDATE FROM MALI: Meeting the youth of Doubabougou by Ibrahima Togola

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Our youth leader Sibiri Mariko led a delegation last week which met with the local youth of Doubabougou. I was so excited. We got to meet the youth leaders of the rural community of Doubabougou which is in the Cercle of Kati in the Koulikoro region ( south west Mali). After explaining who PACP was and what Yeah Samake has done for Mali even before he was a politician was an astonishment to the youth there. This is a rare thing in Mali to see men who serve to help and not in the name of politics.

The youth of the area agreed to follow PACP and Yeah Samake. They agreed to fight for change in Mali that this political party wants to bring to Mali. The youth committed themselves to support Yeah Samake till he becomes a President.

SEM Yeah Samake is the hope that many youth like myself see for our country. Too many years Mali has not progressed. Many politicians come and say they will bring Mali higher. They do not. They lie and pretend that they care about the people in election season. SEM Samake is different. He has served the Malian population before he became a politician. He has done many things for Mali in the name of service, not politics. We will support Yeah Samake for President of Mali because he is the hope of our country.

The Power of Youth by Adama Moussa Sanogo, Youth Leader in Mali

Adama Moussa Sanogo, a Youth Leader who is committed to Honorable Yeah Samake, candidate in the 2013 elections.

Why do you support him?

Before I begin, I would like to thank the journalists. I am here to support Honorable Yeah Samake, I am here to support him because he is a great man. Yeah Samake has done many things, because those who want change must do something so that society knows about it. That is why we support Yeah, he has done many things for the Malian people. He was placed ahead of all the University students in the U.S. and Mali because he is a great man. We canít give such honors to someone for nothing. Because he is committed. Mali has need of someone just like him, like Yeah Samake because he is a leader. Next, like is said in English: ìHe who controls his language controls his Mind. He knows why, how, and what he needs to be, the president. In Ouelessebougou he is well known. He is well known everywhere he goes. From Ouelessebougou to here in Bamako he is well known everywhere, because he is a man who is committed to his cause. He is a brave man that Mali needs. We need men just like Yeah Samake. Involved. Yeah Samake isn’t just anybody, because you see, the youth here in Mali support Yeah Samake, he is a young man and whoever wants change must follow the youth because there is courage between the youth and Yeah Samake. He is involved, he wants total change in this country that is Mali. If you see that us, the young leaders of the different universities here in Bamako are supporting Yeah Samake it is because he is committed to the youth. Whoever wants change, must first change the youth. The youth are the future of this country. He is with the youth. He shares ideas with us, which means he wants total change. This is why I, as a young leader, support him. Here in Mali, education has taken hit a hit. I know that if he wants to do something, he can do it. He is involved, he has shown the example everywhere. That is why I am here. He is a man committed to his cause and we must support him.

One Man’s Vision by Morgan Reber: How Yeah Samaké Will Change Mali Through Education

This post was originally written on Morgan’s blog at: http://thesecondbreakfastblog.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/one-mans-vision-how-yeah-samake-will.html

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After my interview with Yeah Samaké. I’m on the left, Yeah is in the middle, and Michael Devonas (founder of the BYU chapter of Empower Mali) is on the right. It was such a wonderful experience being able to meet and talk with him! He’s a wonderful man, an incredible leader, and an inspiration to us all! 

Progeny to a nation of opportunities and facilities that would be the stuff of miracles in a worse-heeled country, the ignorant, gluttonous exploitation and thanklessness so ubiquitous between the white picket fences of the middle-class American breed happy, smiling Frankenstein monsters of political leaders too plastic and unacquainted with critical issues like poverty, illiteracy, and corruption. That breach between quandary and captain remains inaccessible if the Babel of dissimilarity obstructs resolution from being reached. To remedy social ills, a leader must speak the language of the crisis. He cannot expect to understand an issue having only observed it from the comfort of a white picket fence. The parallelism of sympathy is required. Though too few from the bottom are able to persevere to positions of power, 2013 Malian Presidential candidate Yeah Samake, a man born and raised in poverty, has come forward to offer change for his country through education—change made valid through the success he has already achieved.
Raised in Ouélessébougou, a town he would later be elected the mayor of, Yeah was no stranger to the hunger that accompanied the brutal penury he and his family were subject to. “Some nights, my mother would come and hear us sobbing in bed, and she would tie our stomachs so that they would shrink to reduce the pain of our hunger.” Though he had never been to school, Yeah’s father had a dream that each member of his family would receive an education:

He had a vision that only through education we could break the cycle of poverty, so he sent all of his children to school. In our community that was unheard of… the people of the community warned him, they said, “If you send all of your children to school, your family will go hungry.” He was so determined that, when he was asked, he said, “My family will go hungry, but my family will not know the darkness of illiteracy.”

Despite being obliged to surrender such basic necessities as food, Yeah believes every sacrifice one can make for education to be advantageous.

We paid an enormous price to be there. Like I said, we had to forego the daily meal to be there. We had to give the pain, the hunger, to go to school, but every sacrifice that you can make for education is good… It gives you freedoms that you have never had. Freedom to provide for your family. Freedom to get yourself trained. Freedoms that cross incredible boundaries. Together, we can break that chain [of poverty]. We have the power to go out and be better citizens—to have hope that tomorrow will be a better day than today.

After receiving his Bachelor’s degree in Bamako, Yeah traveled to the United States to obtain a Master’s degree in Public Policy at Brigham Young University.

“I had numerous experiences at BYU that helped build a foundation of leadership… The rigorous training at BYU through this program has truly helped me better understand how we can make the right decision for the right cost. Whether it is the current value or the future value of any decision, it is very important for a leader to have this background. There are also immeasurable, intangible qualities of a leader that you don’t learn from schools, like integrity, like help and service, but even then I feel that BYU truly promoted, instilled, and augmented my sense of service for others. As we know, BYU’s model is: “Enter to learn, go forth to serve.” So, it has served me to serve others.

Through the Kennedy Center for International Studies, Yeah was able to obtain an internship at the United Nations, where he first discovered he wanted to serve in a nonprofit organization. It was out of this desire that sprung the Daily Dose Foundation, which became Mali Rising, finally growing into the Empower Mali Foundation. Overall, Yeah has built no fewer than fifteen schools.

These schools are innovative. They’re cost effective and environmentally friendly… But the under line is that every community that we approach, they pay 20% of the cost, the government provides the teachers so we build this incredible partnership that is unique where the government provides the teachers and the villagers provide the land… Empower Mali raises the money… the remaining 80%. Once we build the school, it becomes immediately self-sustaining. We don’t go back and put money into any of our schools. The villagers, once we are done, they keep the schools, and we come back to check how the schools are functioning. That’s how we are transforming lives, helping children in Mali.

After completing his formal education, Yeah viewed the corruption of his hometown’s government with new eyes. He now had new ideas, new knowledge, and a new vision—and felt as though he had the obligation to make them reality. He ran for the position of mayor of Ouélessébougou, winning by a landslide on the platform of transparency and honesty. He promised tribe leaders he would not pocket a single tax dollar, but would consult the tribe leaders as to where the tax money would be applied based on what deficiencies existed in each chief’s community. Not only did he make good on his promise, winning the trust and support of the citizens of Ouélessébougou, he completely transformed the town’s economy, improving employment rate and increasing the rate of citizens who paid their taxes from 10% to 68% in a single year. His success attracted the attention of American sponsors and national Malian leadership and both began to pour money into Ouélessébougou, making it possible for the once deteriorating town to become a model community, complete with modern public schools, a state of the art hospital, as well as other superior civic, educational, and medical amenities.

He was then approached by the Malian President’s entourage as a potential candidate in the upcoming elections. Yeah was motivated to revolutionize Mali the same way he revolutionized Ouélessébougou. Before the 2012 elections, however, mutinying soldiers distraught with the government’s handling of the Tuareg rebel situation overthrew the government in a military coup. Though he was deeply disappointed, Yeah continued to tirelessly struggle for peace and progress. After great effort and an interim government, Mali is now ready for democratic presidential elections—and Yeah is eager to lead the country into a golden age of a better education system, medical programs, and an improved economy. Yeah is also an inspiration for all those who wish to get more involved, especially students, and he offers this advice:

You cannot do it alone. I cannot do this alone. It takes people to believe that change is possible. You know, a Harvard professor said, “How do you measure the worth of your life? It’s not in terms of things you accumulate, but in terms of the impact you made on the lives of others. That’s how you measure the worth of your life.” We cannot self-pity and believe that we’re too small to do anything, that we’re too alone to do anything. We need to get started. We need to get involved. The greatest happiness, the greatest joy, does not come from the things we have, but from the service we render to others… However big the challenge is, let’s get to work. Most people can make a big difference. With an organization like Empower, all you need to do is ask the members of it. You will be directed to do small things that will not take your focus away from you education, but it your spare time you can use it to get people involved, to inspire other students. That’s where it starts. You cannot wait until you’re city councilman to do things in your city. You can start now, as a student. Not only will you help others, but you will be the first recipient of the benefits of your service. It’s a training program for leadership skills. So, while doing so, you will build personality for yourself while you’re making an impact on the lives of others. Today, you don’t need to travel to New York to raise money in New York. We are in the age of technology, where we can do a lot of things… You are special because you believe and can make a difference. You can look into the eyes of the children in Africa without even traveling, saying, “We can provide education for this girl, or for this boy.” You are doing it from here. Tell others about it. Most people want to help but they have no idea where to start. One day at a time. One evening at a time. One meeting at a time. You can encourage each other, you can inspire each other.

Zoumana Soumaoro supports Yeah Samaké

My name is Zoumana Soumaouro. I was born in 1970 in Ouelessebougou. Since I was born till 2013, the president was the same bad men. Now I am a driver. I have come to PACP because the President of PACP, Niankoro Yeah Samake, the Mayor of Ouelessebougou has a great vision. I love PACP. The first President was Modibo Keita and he passed power to Moussa Traore who then passed the power to ATT for two years. After that ATT gave the power to Alpha Oumar Konare and Alpha gave the same power to ATT. Really, we saw no change in our country, they covered up for each other and they only took the country’s money. The vision that Mayor Yeah Samake has will be good for our country. Yeah saw and said we need to develop the country. He has himself built schools, his first work is to educate the country. Now he has built more than 10 schools and has brought doctors every year to Ouelessebougou. People from as far as Sikasso come to Ouelessebougou to receive treatment. One day, my son was sick, I went to ask the richest guy in Ouelessebougou to borrow some money and he gave it to me. But when I returned home, my son had died. The next week, Yeah’s doctors came and I explained my situation to Yeah. Yeah sent his doctors and they treated all my children for free. At that time, I did not have a job and did not have any money.

Really, Yeah’s vision is limitless for Mali and our country needs someone like Yeah because if you take Mali in Africa, Mali is third largest producer of gold. If you look, we cannot understand how all other countries are more developed than Mali. When I was a child, we saw Mali’s money spent for guns, now where is all the equipment for our Army when we went to fight in the North?Where is the money gone?? We cannot even start to explain Mali’s problems. Mali has big problems. Mali needs good leadership. Mali is not a poor country. Mali has been poor in leadership. Who is good leader? Someone who does good for his country and serves his country. All the time we change the same old leaders with more old leaders. People need to open their eyes to know it is time to change the country.

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#wesupportyeah

My favorite part of interning for Samaké2013 is when I would attend events that people would host in their homes.  The people that attended often had no clue who Yeah was; they were attending only because it was their friend or neighbor that was hosting the event.  However, despite their initial lack of awareness, they instantly loved and believed in Yeah after hearing him speak and meeting him.  I love speaking to these people and hearing their enthusiasm for Yeah—too bad foreigners cannot vote in the Malian election!

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While we who do not call Mali home are not able to vote in their elections, we can still figuratively cast our vote by telling others about Yeah, sharing the message of Samake2013, and donating to his campaign.  This election is not just about Mali.  It is not just about Africa or the developing world.  Every country should be focused on the Malian elections on July 7th because what happens there is going to make an impact.  Hopefully, Yeah will be elected so that it will be a positive impact—Yeah can change his country, which can change the world.

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So in these final weeks, let’s all get involved with Samake2013 and be agents in bringing positive change to the world!

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PACP Conference by Dramane Bagayako

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May 22nd was a very important day and a great day for PACP members. As I entered the conference room at the Centre International Centre Bamako, it was full and there was so many people that some even had to stand. The rest of our youth group sang our song of support for Yeah Samake and PACP as they entered the Conference Hall. Our song goes like:

Wassa lè wassa!!!!
Wassa!!!!
dion dé bé anw wassa?
Yeah samaké dé bé anw wassa!!! Wassa.

In English:

Mr. Yeah Samaké is the one who makes malian youth happy.
“All for yeah. Yeah for all.”
“United we all win,but separated we all loose”.
Yeah on the palace, that’s the only thing we want. Yeah forever!!!!!!!

When Yeah spoke, all the party’s delegates were very happy. His speech brought the people in the room to clap for him many times. Even the PACP Secretary General Fomba spoke about all the good things that PACP has done for Mali. All the delegates of the party that came from all over Mali was so happy. They kept saying how Yeah and this party is the only one with a vision that is good for Mali. PACP has the best vision to change and develop Mali to be a better country. PACP is the only party that can show its hand in education. PACP is the only party that can show its hand in healthcare in Mali. PACP and Yeah Samake have a good vision. I support Yeah! I trust he is the solution to Mali’s many problems.  Vive PACP.

I Support Yeah by Gabriel Saez

Gabriel Saez helped to organize the “Why Mali Matters” event in Boston on April 10. Thank you, Gabriel, for your ongoing support! We love having you on our team. Yeah for Mali!

Gabriel Saez

George Bernard Shaw wrote, “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” I support Yeah Samake because he is unreasonable.

In every single personal, professional and political decision Yeah has made, he has avoided the easy way. For instance, he rejected the potential benefits a career in Europe or in the United Stated could have offered him and, instead, chose to go back to Mali and bring hope to his people. As Mayor of Ouélessébougou, he didn’t do what most politicians do –that is, try to differentiate himself from his peers. On the contrary, he has looked for ways to inspire and work with other mayors.

Yeah is a leader among leaders. He taught -by example- the revolutionary notion that a leader can and should fight corruption. His influence will extend beyond Mali’s boundaries. I have seen him interact with top-notch African social, political and business leaders at Harvard University. His charisma and brightness quickly won them over. Likewise, he’s experienced in successfully dealing with American and European leaders.Yeah’s unreasonability is actually explained by his all-encompassing faithfulness. He’s faithful to his family, his people, his beliefs, his country and God.

I support Yeah Samake not just because of the transformative impact his victory will have on Mali, but also because of the hope he has already brought to people all over the world.

MALI: Youth Groups in Bamako by Dramane Bagayako and Ibrahima Togola

This account is by Dramane Bagayako, a Youth Leader in Bamako, Mali.

Saturday May 11th 2013, was an awesome day for the youth who are part of the AJLCDM. We had the wonderful opportunity to visit with PACP President Yeah Samake. My group is very supportive of Yeah and his vision for a good Mali. We believe that SEM Samake can bring a lot of change to Mali. About 35 youth leaders attended the meeting. We listened carefully to SEM Samake’s thoughts on how we the youth can bring change to Mali. We also had an opportunity to meet with the National Youth Bureau. The Youth Bureau organized a show. They performed a play about corruption and how the youth should follow Yeah’s honest example. The show is a great way to help all people understand more about corruption and how to stop it.

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Our group is very excited to continue our work for PACP. We want to support SEM Yeah Samake because we believe that he will change the opportunities we have in Mali. After these meetings, my group volunteered our weekend to campaign in the villages of Dio and also Yelekebougou.
I continue to believe that PACP is the only example for change to develop Mali. The Malian people are tired and feel betrayed. No one can say Yeah has not helped Mali. We can see all he does for Malians not only in Ouelessebougou but in many villages where he has built schools and brought doctors. We continue to keep our promise that we will follow him.
There was another small meeting over the weekend as well, led by Ibrahima Togola and Bourama Traore. In a statement from Ibrahima:
“The meeting began Sunday, May 12, 2013, in DIALAKORODJI started at 17:00. The PACP delegation was introduced by Vice President Bourama Traore. Based on achievements of Yeah, he briefly spoke of all that Yeah has done in building schools, hospitals and giving scholarships to students.
During the meeting there were representatives of three committees of Dialakorodji namely Dialakorodji koko, Dialakorodji kouloussanfaila and of Dialakorodji Sougou.
As is a custom, we went to greet the village chief who gave his blessings to the PACP Party.
Good ideas have been advanced by these three committees and they have advised that they are ready for mobilization in the surrounding communities. The atmosphere was one of welcome as the residents of Dialakorodji showed us that they will give us support in the next elections.”

How I See Yeah Samaké by Eric Call

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Eric Call

Through my work with Samake 2013, I’ve come to know a little better Yeah Samake, the man who could very possibly become the next president of Mali.

Yeah Samake is a strong leader, devoted father and husband, brilliant thinker, and to me a great friend. I am inspired by his words each time I hear him speak. I see in him the qualities I wish political leaders in my own native United States had. He is a leader by example, and is completely devoted to his country and his people. Everything he does he does for them.

Yeah has helped me to understand the power behind honesty, integrity, tact, and devotion to one’s cause. He has helped learn skills that I have struggled to develop for years. Through his honesty and vision he has brought change and hope tens of thousands of Malians, he can do so much good already, imagine what he could do as president. He knows what is needed to climb from poverty and change one’s destiny. He sacrificed for his education, he sacrificed for his family, he has sacrificed for his people.

I strongly believe in Yeah and all that he stands for. As a student, a friend, and a human being I fully support Yeah Samake and his platform. #isupportyeah

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Susan and Adrian Escalante Support Yeah!

We would love to have a dollar for every time we have heard an American say they wished that Yeah Samake was running for president of The United States!  The reason people like President-elect Samake is because he is genuine, transparent, honest, brilliant and a true leader with integrity. Did I say brave? He is also very courageous!

Those of us who know him or who have heard his story, recognize that without a doubt, this is a man whom you can believe and trust. It seems as though God  has hand-picked this man, Samake, to start the process to bring Mali into the light: the light of enterprise, the light of knowledge, and the light of global presence. No longer will Mali remain in the darkness of illiteracy, but will rise like a phoenix by forming a model of success that other countries will be allowed – and even invited – to duplicate. Success can belong to everyone, and Mayor Samake is sharing this vision with not only his fellow-citizens in Mali but with citizens of America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and all of Africa.

We support Team Samake because all the team-members are like-minded and willing to work and sacrifice to see this vision come to fruition. Team Samake backs a man whose principles are clear and effective to bring a positive change to his country.

This is only a beginning of new thought leadership and it starts right here, right now, with the right candidate winning the 2013 Mali Presidential election; Niankoro Yeah Samake.

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