February Project Update

The Dokotoro Project Steering Committee held its monthly meeting in the beginning of February. It’s been a busy month! Much of the discussion revolved around the soon-to-be-launched fundraising campaign.

Present: Matt, Michelle, Jenna, Zach, Marlow, Aaron, Ruth



The group welcomed Aaron Goldblatt to the steering committee. Aaron was in the Butterknife stage (2003–2004) in Sevaré, and now is a medical resident in Santa Rosa, California. We are delighted to have someone with expertise in international medicine on the steering committee.

Translation and layout

Our team in Bamako submitted the translated Introduction, covered by our second contract with the group. We are generally quite pleased with the work they’re doing. Since jointly developing a project stylesheet, the writing is much more consistent in terms of spelling, punctuation, etc.

We agreed to contract with Djibril, our editor in Louisiana to proofread and edit this chapter. We discussed the need for a dedicated editor for the whole book. This will bring up our budget to around $30,000 probably.

Zach finished the French translations of Chapters 18 and 20, so we have full French-language versions of those chapters.

Back translations

We discussed the idea of creating three versions of the book: one monolingual Bambara, one bilingual French-Bambara and one English-Bambara. We think Hesperian will be okay with this, as it will be clear we are not producing “another English version” and it will really help us keep it up to date.

The French and Bambara version would be most helpful to Malians, and maybe for other parts of Francophone Africa. The English Bambara version would be helpful to allow a broader set of medical experts to review.

It would be twice as expensive to print a bilingual version, so we might create a multi-volume set, or plan to distribute via the internet or do print on demand. We realize it will be a lot of extra work, but the group is energized by the idea. Much of the work to create the updated and adapated French and English source texts could be done by volunteers who know some French, but are not necessarily fluent.

Ruth has continued modifying and cleaning up some of the illustrations, and they look great.

We’ve long discussed having a proper French-language version of the website. Right now, we have the Google Translate widget, but machine translation is far from perfect. Zach will work on translating some of the core pages on the website in February.

Admin and finance

We are realizing the only downside to having a fiscal sponsor manage all the donations for us is that we are only receiving donor reports quarterly. So, if you made a donation, we’ll send you a thank you note, but it may take a few months! (Unless you gave online and checked “Anonymous.”)


We spent the bulk of the meeting discussing the upcoming “Have a Heart for Mali” six week fundraising campaign. Our goal is to raise $20,000 by the end of the drive. A friend, Scott Saraceno, has volunteered to put together a video for us.

During the next six weeks, we’ll try to reach as many possible donors as possible, using phone calls, email, Facebook, etc.


Last month’s hackaton was a big success, we had 11 volunteers in attendance and got a lot of work done. At this time, we’ve finished “crosswalking” all the chapters, combining text from the English and French versions of the book. There is still a lot of work to do to create the bilingual English and French texts. Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Jenna Lohmann.