Summary of a discussion: Impact of COVID-19 on women in Mali

| December 21, 2022

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In August 2022, a week-long discussion was held on the Mali radio partner WhatsApp group about the impact of COVID-19 on women. The aim was to support the COVID-19 vaccine confidence campaign. During the week-long discussion, there were 118 total interactions, 35 by women and 83 by men. The discussion was facilitated by our networking officer, Abdoulrazack Mamoudou, with great interventions from Fatoumata Niaré, Zoumana Coulibaly, Delphine Diarra, Youssouf Niakate, Mamadou Ousseni Barry and Aliou Toure.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on everyone and especially on the household economy of families across Africa. Women’s experiences during the pandemic were unique depending on their role in their families and communities. Our radio partners in Mali exchanged ideas in our WhatsApp group with the aim of addressing the issue on air.

According to Youssouf Niakate, “COVID-19 has had several direct and indirect impacts … due to the scarcity or high cost of products on the markets in the country.” 

Fatoumata Niaré said thatCOVID-19 has had negative impacts on women from a commercial point of view. Purchasing power has fallen sharply because of the surge in import prices.” She said this has caused women to buy their products outside of the country, where they are more affordable.

As women are a source of economic income, they must be considered when making decisions during pandemics like COVID-19, and Delphine Diarra said that “sensitizing women leaders of associations will also help to sensitize others.” 

She noted that radio is a good tool to circulate good information in rural Africa, especially for women who have encountered difficulties during the pandemic. Zoumana Coulibaly commented: “The radio also allows to give more explanation about COVID-19 vaccines, especially to women who think that it will harm their health.”

In conclusion, we discussed the impacts of Covid-19 on rural communities and especially on women who live with the import and export trade in some African countries. Each person gave their views on the topic, as well as some recommendations.

The recommendations were:

  • Include women at the heart of the awareness-raising process and in decision-making on health issues;
  • Establish a solidarity fund for women and a committee to fight against diseases.