February 2014 Project Update

Our volunteers may have taken a few weeks off over the holidays, but things are still happening behind the scenes at the Dokotoro Project!

The dust has settled from our November fundraiser, and we’re delighted to announce that we raised nearly $11,000 by the end 2013. We extend a big, heart-felt thank you to everyone who donated or volunteered to make this such a big success. And we owe a special thanks to the anonymous donor who gave a $5,000 matching grant. Not only did we meet the match, we exceeded it by nearly $1,000.

Translation – We’re just past the half-way mark in translating Where There is No Doctor into Bambara. Our Bamako-based translation team is working on the First Aid chapter right now, which is one of the longest and most complicated chapters in the book, with nearly 80 pages of material. There is a lot of challenging material, with many new medicines, and lots of detailed figures and captions. The translators should finish a draft sometime in March, at which point we’ll pass it on to our editor/proofreader for correction.

Fundraising We have enough money in the bank to keep our translators busy for several months. We need about another $15,000 to finish the translation. Unfortunately, the US dollar is weak against the Euro right now. Since the currency in which we pay our translators, the CFA is pegged to the Euro, this means our translation costs have gone up somewhat.

So far, all of the money we’ve raised has come from individual donors, but we’re hoping to receive support from charitable foundations as well. If you have any leads or suggestions, please let us know.

Steering Committee – We’re delighted to welcome Heather White to the Dokotoro Project Steering Committee. Heather served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mali, and runs a busy web design firm in Oakland. She’ll be taking over responsibility for the book’s design and layout from Ruth MacDonald, who has been helping for the last year and a half. Thanks for all your good work, Ruth, and welcome to the team Heather.

Volunteers – We still have lots of jobs for volunteers, which mostly involves formatting documents or translating from English to French or vice-versa. Recruiting volunteers and having them work independently to do meaningful work has proven to be, well… difficult. On the other hand, the “Hackathon”-style work parties have been extremely worthwhile. We’ll be holding another one in mid-March. Stay tuned for details.

Field Testing – Scott Lacy, the Executive Director of African Sky, and professor of anthropology at Fairfield University in Connecticut, is directing field testing of the book chapters, to gather critical feedback to make sure the material works for a Malian audience. He visited Mali in January, and laid the groundwork for the first field testing sessions that will take place in Bamako this summer.

Mali Connections in France? Dokotoro volunteers Matt and Michelle are planning a trip to France this spring. We’d love to hold a “friend-raiser” to introduce people to the project, make connections, and maybe raise some money. Do you know any Malians or people who care about Mali living in Paris or Bordeaux? Any suggestions are welcome. Merci d’avance!