Increasing incomes through cooperatives

The project aimed to help 120 women from six experienced savings groups to launch small business cooperatives, enabling them to earn additional income to pay for basic services for themselves and their children. To achieve this, the project aimed to increase their vocational and small business management skills, in order to increase their incomes by the end of the project. In the longer term, the women should be able to pay for their children’s school fees. The project built on a Mali Health Savings for Health programme that helped women in poor, peri-urban communities to set up savings groups and to save and lend money to pay the high fees for basic primary and preventive healthcare.

By the end of the project the women had successfully established four cooperatives. Two cooperatives were producing peanut butter, one soap and another Value-Added Agricultural Products. The later encountered the most difficulty due to the complexity of items produced. Additional coaching from Mali Health and some reflection on their strategies, enabled them to strengthen their marketing strategy and they developed a reputation for the high quality of their products ultimately helping with sales. The women’s average monthly income increased from $18 to $44. Thanks to the additional income, 88% of the women declared accessing healthcare within 24hrs of disease onset and 96% were able to afford healthcare. At the end of the project, 56 more children were enrolled in school than at the beginning.

The NGO: Mali Health is an American NGO founded in 2007. It aims to improve maternal and child health and survival in poor, peri-urban communities in Bamako, Mali, by helping mothers and children access high-quality primary care and preventative healthcare.




Health / Community Development / Education


January 2018 – December 2019


Bamako / Mali

With whom

Mali Health



18.5 million (2017)

Per Capita Income
USD 770/year (2017)

Poverty rate *
41% (2009)

Literacy rate
33% (2016)

Human Development Index
182nd out of 189 countries (2018)

Mali has experienced conflict on a regular basis since its independence in 1960. The military coup in March 2012 triggered a political and security crisis and although peace negotiations were concluded in 2015, the situation remains volatile, preventing large-scale return of those who fled the country or are internally displaced. Fragile security in the northern regions is hampering economic recovery. The crisis has worsened the human development outlook; chronic food insecurity is affecting 25% of families. One in three children under-five suffers from stunting. Drought and conflict have increased the extreme poverty rate, rising from 48% in 2011 to 50% in 2013.

Sources: World Food Program, UNICEF, World Bank, 2016 Human Development Report, Human Development Indices and Indicators (2018 Statistical Update)

*The percentage of the population living below the national poverty line.