July 16, 2003
Association Jeunesse Action
The Association Jeunesse Action (AJA), or Youth Action Agency, in Bamako is a sort of school that trains young people between the ages of 9-35 in the skills of trade, business, and craftmanship. We got a tour of their facilities and gave a demonstration of the Kinkajou to 11 employees and students.
ABOUT THE AJA
The AJA employs 35 teachers and craftspeople who have worked with over 1500 students in the last three years. Since its beginning in 1993, the school has seen students all the way through its programs and into the professional world. The school holds pride in over 50 inventions. Their products have gone on to create sustainable business for the students who complete the program in business venture.
Some of their most notable inventions include a condom vending machine to encourage people to protect themselves against AIDS, a medical waste incinerator, a waterpump, peanut sheller, solar powered water heater, and a washing machine. The most remarkable product was the educational reader tool that we had learned about in Siby. Not only did we get to see several of them, but we met the inventors and the artists. Its facilities include a wood shop, metal working shop, and an art center. There is a selection process for its students and the expenses are covered by NGOs such as OXFAM and private sponsors.
There is a school for children between 9-15 with no prior school training, that teaches them developmental skills like reading and math and helps them to develop professional language to train them for apprenticeship.
The school for young adults, ages 18-25, is a trade school specializing in metalwork, woodwork and tailoring. It is for students with some prior schooling up to high school, who are looking for an education in trade.
For students ages 18-35 who have had economic training, the program in micro-enterprize teaches students how to manage a business in the market.
For women ages 18-40 they teach classes in health training, maternal health, fighting poverty, and disease prevention
KINKAJOU A HIT**
Kinkajou was a hit with the group. When we showed the director, he immediately saw it as a potential enterprize for one of his students. We tested the Kinkajou in a classroom of 17 people, including everyone in our team. The walls were blue and there was some ambiant light from outside, the images were clear. No one there had ever heard of LEDs but they understood how everything worked. They said they could build most of the components, if we could provide the LED, lense, circuit and microfilm. As before, it seems that the microfilm is the big road block. But they were very excited to see the product and are eager to get the part drawings so that they can build it. One student wants to start a business and is already thinking of ways to redesign and build the device.
Posted by Kateri Garcia at July 16, 2003 01:42 PM