Introducing the Dokotoro Project

Dokotoro means “doctor” in the Bambara language*. Bambara (or Bamanankan) is spoken as a first or second language by an estimated 80% of the people in Mali, West Africa.

In 2012, a small group of friends, most of whom served in the Peace Corps in Mali, decided to have the book Where There Is No Doctor: A Village Health Care Handbook, translated into Bambara. This extraordinary book, published by Hesperian Health Guides in Berkeley, California, is the most widely used health guide in the world, and has already been translated into 80 languages.

We are fully aware that the recent violence and political turmoil in Mali could make our project more complicated. Many non-governmental organizations have withdrawn their staff from Mali, and aid agencies have cut funding except for the barest essentials and humanitarian aid. However, it makes us even more committed to helping the people of Mali, and providing ordinary citizens with resources to give them more control of their health and well-being.

*We might have made our first spelling mistake. The online dictionary at gives the translation as dɔgɔtɔrɔ. The funny-looking open o is pronounced as in “ought.”