Literacy Snapshots
SIL on the Field

“From Asia to Timbuktu” - Bird Flu Materials for Mali

Country: Mali, Africa
Population: 11,956,788

Field personnel working with local language teams have translated the SIL Bird Flu educational preventative materials for 10 languages in Mali.

In Mali, homeland of the famous Timbuktu, SIL field personnel were invited to join the “Comité Technique de Coordination de la Lutte Contre la Grippe Aviaire” (Technical Committee for the Coordination of the Fight Against Bird Flu) under the sponsorship of the Ministère de l’Elevage et de la Pêche (Ministry of Livestock Breeding and Fishing) to help develop Bird Flu educational materials. The Mali SIL literacy department culturally adapted materials originally developed by SIL in Asia by modifying the text and using a Malian artist. The booklet was translated into Bambara and French (the languages of wider communication). In additon, the poster texts were translated and approved in French and in four national languages - Bambara, Fulfulde, Soninké and Songhai. Translations for other languages, Dogon, Tamasheq, Minyanka, Bozo Tiéyaxo, Bozo Jenaama, and Duungooma, are in process of being checked.

Mali’s President, His Excellency Amadou Toumani Touré was among the attendees who examined the translated Bird Flu materials as they were displayed at the “Journées Paysanes”, an agricultural exhibition and fair held to promote rural issues in Segou, Mali on June 23 - 24, 2006.

While to date there is not a documented bird flu outbreak in Mali, members of the national prevention committee wisely recognized the importance of having risk and prevention materials and committed resources to prepare them in advance. The materials were produced collaboratively by the Insitut de Langues Abdoulaye Barry, the Comité Technique de Coordination de la Lutte Contre la Grippe Aviaire and SIL. They will be distributed once a confirmed outbreak occurs. Mali sets an example by having the materials prepared in various languages should the status change in this potential health threat to their country.

The SIL Bird Flu materials were originally developed by a field team in Asia. As in the Mali case, other language teams and agencies around the world have found them useful. They already have been translated into local languages in countries as diverse as Mozambique, Indonesia, Brazil, and in Central America. (See: free downloadable Bird Flu materials)

Mali women working with chickens in the courtyard. (photos provided by SIL Dir.Tim Tillinghast)

One of the drawings for the bird flu booklet by Ali Zoromé, the Malian artist.

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