Dear Friends of Peace Corps-Mali,

I would like to let you know about an opportunity to fund the community-based efforts of Peace Corps Volunteers serving in Mali.  Since 1964 the Office of Private Sector Initiatives (OPSI) at Peace Corps-Washington has been managing private gifts made to “Peace Corps Partnership Projects” (PCPPs) submitted by Volunteers in the field.  A recent addition by the OPSI has been the creation of a Mali-specific “Country Fund.”  This means that people can now make a tax-deductible donation to the Mali Country Fund and these funds will be used to implement grassroots development projects initiated by members of their host communities and jointly implemented with Peace Corps.

In recent years gifts to PCPPs in Mali have been significant in terms of size and impact.  In 2008 and 2009 Peace Corps-Mali was number 2 and number 1 respectively, in the Peace Corps world, in terms of the number of projects funded and total amount of funds received (roughly 50 projects per year, with a total of about $150,000 received).  With these funds, Peace Corps Volunteers in Mali have been able to fund sustainable grassroots development projects in a number of sectors, for example, ranging from: the construction and repair of wells and latrines, health clinics, maternities and schools; the acquisition of equipment for these infrastructures; the implementation of training programs in adult literacy, computer training, water pump repair, midwifery, improved nutrition and malaria prevention; and the expansion of community-based associations and cooperatives in areas ranging from value-added production and transformation to the construction of cereal banks.

Collectively, these efforts help to improve infant and maternal survival, while also contributing to the food security of Malian communities, and a general improvement in the lives of people in rural Mali.  These efforts are also recognized at all levels within the Malian Government.  I continually hear from our Malian partners their awe about the “courage” of our Volunteers and their profound appreciation of the fact that Volunteers leave the comforts of home to work in challenging conditions; learning the local language and respecting the culture, while doing significant work with their Malian counterparts.

With your support, we hope to continue and expand on these efforts.  Note that with Peace Corps-Mali slated for significant growth in the current fiscal year, we will grow from our current size of 160 volunteers to about 260 volunteers by September 2011.  This means that we will also need additional resources to enable our volunteers to continue their great work.

Please note that all gifts received are fully donated to the Mali Country Fund.  There is no overhead or other kinds of administrative fees deducted from these funds.  One hundred percent of the gifts received are donated directly to Peace Corps Volunteer projects in the field.  This means that there is no better return for your development dollars than by making a gift to the Mali Country Fund through the OPSI.  Note as well that gifts of any amount are welcome and that a community-based activity can be implemented even with just a few dollars.

If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to the Mali Country Fund, please go to the following link.

Note how much you would like to give and then click on “Donate” on the right side of the screen.

Thank you for considering this opportunity to lend support to Peace Corps Volunteer efforts in the Malian communities where they serve.  I can assure you that Volunteers and their Malian colleagues alike will be deeply appreciative of any support that you can lend.  Thank you!

Sincerely,

Michael J. Simsik, Ed.D., Country Director

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