Voice.Global website

My confidence, my power

Written by Sitan Coulibaly, Lnking, Learning and Amplifier Officer in Mali.

I have a distaste for men because my father tried to abuse me.

Photo in a high school class during awareness raising

AL: My extracurricular activity was basketball because it is my passion; I had to beg my dad to register me. When I was 13, he entrusted me to my coach to help me realize my dream. Three years later, the coach changed his behaviour towards me; during the training, he was touching me, taking me from behind or touching my body to teach me how to shoot the balls. These acts made me lose interest in training; I became silent at home, thinking that my parents would notice something but nothing. I couldn’t report him to my father because my father had put all his trust in him to the point of entrusting him with the task of taking me to and from training and also buying all my sports gear.

After a while, I couldn’t do anything, so I did everything I could to change my training club and cut off all relations with my former coach.

And today, I can’t get a boyfriend because I feel disgusted with men whenever I think about it. And I would say that this has become my strength because I concentrate on my studies and my passion.

AL is not the only one in this situation; there are several girls who their teachers harass.

AC: It started when I was in college. Our teacher approached me, made advances, and threatened that if I ever refused, he would give me zero in all the subjects (Maths, Physics and Chemistry) he taught us. I didn’t accept, and he kept giving me zeros in all three issues. And he justified himself to my mum by saying that I never went to class and was always out with the boys. I didn’t say anything to my parents or the management because he had already spoiled my image, and I thought no one would believe me.

This story affected me a lot and made me lose my self-esteem because I feel ashamed of myself every time I think about it.

Bullying in schools does not only concern girls and is not only physical or sexual – young people are harassed because of their difference.

AS: Once in class, our teacher asked a question, and I volunteered to answer, and I stuttered because it’s natural in me. Since that day, a classmate started to make fun of me and imitate me. After that, he encouraged the other classmates to do it with him, and even though I showed them that I wouldn’t say I liked it, they never stopped. I was frustrated, and it became complex because I didn’t participate in classes anymore for fear of being laughed at.

I didn’t complain to the administration because I didn’t want the whole school to know about it and make fun of me. Today in high school, I still have this complex about speaking up in class to participate; I just follow and learn my lessons well to get ahead.

The project “Agir pour prévenir” (Acting to prevent) implemented by Femme et Developpement (FEDE) has recorded several other testimonies. In each case, the right holders do not file a complaint because they think they will not be believed. So to remedy this, the project has equipped the six public high schools in Bamako that they have targeted with warning cells.

The Crisis Centre comprises seven people (4 girls and three boys) elected for a one-year term, renewable once. It aims to reduce violence in the school environment by providing survivors with a safe channel of recourse.

Suggestion boxes for the setting up of the emergency cell

To enable the cell members to fully play their role and gain the trust of the survivors, they have been trained on the existing texts and procedures regarding the prevention and repression of GBV. Thus, they are responsible for taking complaints, ensuring the integrity of the accusations made by survivors and finding the best solution to the problem with the help of FEDE and the management (in some cases).


Voice is committed to providing safe spaces filled with integrity and respect for ALL people as well as for financial resources.

Click here for more information on our Whistle-blower policy & Procedure