24 April 2023

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Mali is Africa’s eighth largest country, battered by hot winds blowing from the Sahara, with daytime temperatures hitting 45c.  

Half the country’s population lives in extreme poverty and under the constant threat of political instability. 

Against all odds, the resilient women of Tigama, in the south of the country, are forging a path towards hope and sustainability by creating market gardens.

Thanks to UK charity WaterAid and players of People’s Postcode Lottery, local women are successfully growing tomatoes, onions, papayas, cabbages, eggplants, beetroot and other produce. 

Their careful handling of the land has resulted in seedlings being nurtured, fruit and vegetables ripening for picking, and the water-enriched soil being tilled, ready for the next round of planting.  

These gardens had been difficult to harvest for years, with little or no produce and a single unreliable borehole. With player support WaterAid worked closely with the community to install a water tower, giving 1,800 people in Tigama access to clean water. 

To date, the charity has received over £22 million from players of People’s Postcode Lottery. They run similar projects in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, and Burkina Faso. Over the past year, the charity has reached 6,000 communities, 1,300 schools, and 400 healthcare facilities, helping build climate-resilient communities across the globe.

Water Aid’s CEO, Tim Wainwright, says: “Access to clean water, decent toilets, and good hygiene is necessary for healthy living. 771 million or 1 in 10 people worldwide, do not have clean water close to home, and climate change is worsening their situation.”  

Laura Chow, Head of Charities at People's Postcode Lottery, says: “Our players are helping create a sustainable future for all. Building climate-resilient communities that are strong, fair, and able to withstand the impacts of climate change is a win for us all.” 

Player support has also helped the community dig new wells in their market gardens.  

Mayaman Malle, a 55-year-old woman now harvests produce to feed her family and generate an income. She says: “Gardening means a lot to us. We now tend to two harvests, and we consume and sell all the vegetables we grow, which enables us to increase the quality of our food and generate money to cover other expenses.” 

WaterAid has also trained three local water experts to help manage the water cycle while measuring and monitoring the available water. 

Seydou Diarra, Deputy Mayor of Tigama, says: “Having the support of WaterAid and its allies is helping us manage water resources – this is an essential part of our programme to deal with the effects of climate change which is a huge issue for Mali.”

When a community gets clean water, it creates a powerful ripple, saving lives and improving people’s health and livelihoods. With support from People’s Postcode Lottery players, this community now has control over their water supply, livelihoods, and lives.  

A symbol of resilience and determination, Tigama stands as an inspiration to us all as we work towards a better, resilient future. 

Tim Wainwright added: “Thanks to players' support, we are working side-by-side with communities to ensure these essentials are a daily part of life."