Who We Are
Sini Sanuman was founded in 2002 by Malians who were involved in the Pledge Against Excision. It is based in Bamako, the capital of Mali, and has a small staff and an executive committee of nine (8 Malians and one American).
Sini Sanuman means Healthy Tomorrow in the local Bambara language. Sini Sanuman’s main project, the Pledge Against Excision campaign, has 45 partner groups including Amnesty International, Planned Parenthood, the Center Djoliba, APDF and most of the key players in the movement in Bamako. To see the list of partner groups, click here. We also work through music and the media to try to convince people to stop excising, so many of our key people are artists.
Healthy Tomorrow is a group of supporters of Sini Sanuman’s work in Massachusetts, USA.
Siaka Traoré is president and one of the founders of Sini Sanuman. He was the first person to get people to sign the Pledge Against Excision, and he organized his friends to get signatures as well. Soon he had found our first excisers to promise to stop excising. He has now convinced more than 20 excisers to stop, including his own mother. He is Sini Sanuman’s principal spokesperson and administrator. He has mobilized many prominent religious leaders, with whom he is our primary contact.
Susan McLucas, aka Mariam Sacko, secretary general of Sini Sanuman,
and director of Healthy Tomorrow, lives in Mali almost half-time,
when she’s not in Boston. She has spent 12 extended stays in Mali
since 1997, working in the movement against excision. During her
third trip, along with Malian colleagues, she put together the
Pledge Against Excision as a way of organizing opposition to the
practice. In 2000, with another NGO, she produced the album “Stop
Excision,” and began getting music videos made and played on
television in Mali and throughout West Africa. She has directed the
videos “Anka Fo ‘Ante!’” (Let’s Say ‘No!’), “Ca Fait Mal” (It Hurts)
and “I Abandon.”
Kaniba Baguiya Madame Sacko (Board member) is another key activist with Sini Sanuman. She has led countless meetings on the subject of excision, some of which have led to villages’ deciding to stop excising. When she speaks, people listen, and when she sings, people have a tendency to get up and dance. She has convinced 13 excisers to stop excising and one of them invited Kaniba to give the message to the guests at her daughter’s wedding and again at her grandson’s baptism.
Other Board members:
Samou Robert Koné, co-founded the Action Committee for the Pledge against Excision (CAPE). He brought the chief of his village, Konibabougou, our third village to abandon excision, into the struggle and acted with him in the video “Ca Fait Mal.” He is founder of the Club of Whole Women, a group of un-excised girls who are proud to talk about it and have appeared on the radio. He has gotten the signatures of dozens of mayors and other important Malians on the Pledge Against Excision.holds meetings and has collected many
signatures on the Pledge Against Excision.
Ibrahim Diallo, long-term active member and assistant treasurer of Sini Sanuman, has helped get signatures from famous people including many judges. He is one of the key people who manage the project, day to day.
Kalifa Daou, a dedicated volunteer, has gone on many missions for Sini Sanuman. He introduced us to some key religious leaders who are important to our work. He has reached out to many important personalities.
Ibrahim Ballo, works at AMSOPT, one of our partner groups, and is a long-time leader in the movement. He is assistant secretary general of Sini Sanuman and uses his experience to help direct our work.
Ramata Guissé, teacher and jurist, has been involved with Sini Sanuman since 2005, when she began to work in her neighborhood of Niamakoro. She helps with our work with the ex-excisers from District V and our villages that have stopped excising.
Moussa Doumbia, treasurer of Sini Sanuman and founder and leader of Club Sini Sanuman of N’Tomikorobougou, a group of over 20 people who’ve talked to most of their neighbors by now. He has also founded a club in Samé.
Other friends of Sini Sanuman:
director of Holistic Development Africa (DHA), one of our partner groups, helped found Sini Sanuman. His efforts to stop a large excision ceremony near his village led us to near-by Moussala and Tamala, which became our first villages to abandon the practice. He has remained a key liaison with the villages around there.
Saloum Traoré, head of Amnesty International in Mali, is a long-term friend and advisor to Sini Sanuman. He helped us get going when we had no office. Saloum has steered Amnesty to collaborate on the Pledge Against Excision and has organized many other activities against FGM.
Ousseini Sy, educator and trainer, led the meetings with the elected officials of District V for Sini Sanuman at the end of 2007 and leads many trainings about FGM for health workers around Mali. With Amnesty International, his main job, he also got many villages to stop excising around Bougouni, near Burkina Faso.
Boubacar Coulibaly, a friend of Siaka Traoré’s, got inspired and started ten clubs around Koulikoro, about an hour outside Bamako. Members of the clubs are active, spreading the message and collecting signatures. Many famous people have signed, including the mayor and chief of police of Koulikoro.
Moussa Camara, the current leader of the clubs in Koulikoro, helped organize a series of film showings around Koulikoro, including following up with the neighborhood chief after one showing that wasn’t well received and, along with other club members, has contacted and mobilized many important leaders in their area.
Idrissa Diarra aka James, author, cinematographer and producer, filmed the music video “I Abandon,” the meeting with president of the Malian National Assembly, the meeting of ex-excisers of District V of Bamako, and the workshop to develop the bill against FGM to propose to the legislature. He helps Sini Sanuman with our video editing needs. He has made films for TV, music videos, and theatre pieces.
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Sadio Sylla, a nurse, was one of the people who helped start the Pledge Against Excision and Sini Sanuman. She acted in the video “Anka Fo ‘Ante!’” and spoke on television when the village of Tamala stopped excising. She now works full-time as an anti-excision organizer with a different group.
Boubacar Sow, has taken an active role spreading our message. At a meeting he organized in Djélibougu, a neighborhood of Bamako, the people said they wanted to organize a march against FGM.
Daye Koné, , a “griot” (traditional singer/story-teller) co-wrote the song in Sarakolé on the album “Stop Excision.” He plays n’goni and his wife Nayini sings Takhoundi (Excision,) which they often perform at weddings and other gatherings. He arranged to have this song performed at the France Africa Summit in December of 2005. He also led us to Ténin Bomboté, the singer who wrote “I Abandon” and played a key role in making the music video for it, helping direct it and recruiting many of the ex-excisers in it. Being a griot, he is very influential.
Nayini Koné, the singer of our Sarakolé song, at first thought her family would never allow her to sing against excision. To her surprise, she discovered that they were all secretly against FGM. The song became a family project, with the dreaded “big brothers” playing back-up. The Malian women’s ministry took Nayini to Burkina Faso to perform “Takhoundi.”
Djénéba Daou, has a been a key person in promoting the Pledge Against Excision for several years. She was working at a health center when she heard about the Pledge campaign and got that center involved. She has talked to many people about FGM, led large groups, and gotten many signatures on the Pledge. She is currently working for one of our partner groups, APAF Muso Dambe, but they have agreed to let Sini Sanuman have her when we can afford more staff.
Mamadou Touré, is a friend from Amnesty International who has gotten very involved in collecting signatures on the Pledge, which he takes it to meetings on other topics.
Cheick Fall Tounkara, has visited and convinced a number of excisers to stop over the years. He founded a club, Sabou Youma, the Good Cause, and advises the project on motorcycle-related matters.
There are too many important people to have paragraphs about them all. Other people deserve mention, who’ve helped out, each in their own way: Mme Doucouré of ASSOPROFEN, Adama Yalomba and Hawa Diabaté, Madame Sanogo Assétou Soumaré from APDF, Cathérine Macalou from Planned Parenthood/Mali, Moussa Koné from SADEB, Jérémie Koné, Georges Togo, Daniel Togo, Adama Kouyaté from the national TV station, Oumar Cissé from Africable and many others.
We have dozens of partner groups, some of which have been mentioned already. For the complete list of these groups, click here.
Healthy Tomorrow is Sini Sanuman’s sister group in Massachusetts
Susan McLucas, has worked for over 30 years for peace, development and social justice in the U.S., Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America. She has traveled to Mali for 12 extended stays, beginning in 1997, and has worked with numerous Malian partners to stop female genital mutilation. She produced the poster "Let's Stop Excising" (1997), the album "Stop Excision" (2000) and three music videos, which have appeared many times on Malian television. She also helped initiate the "Pledge Against Excision. While in the US, she operates the Bicycle Riding School. (www.bicycleridingschool.org)
keith harmon snow, is an independent photographer, writer and war correspondent who has worked in 45 countries and reported from wars in Afghanistan, Ethiopia and the Dem. Rep. of Congo. He has worked with Genocide Watch and Survivor's Rights International as a human rights investigator, and as a genocide consultant for the U.N. He is a 2009 University of California Santa Barbara Regent's Lecturer. keith is an Advisor of Friends of the Congo (.org). He is also the founder of the Wildcat Sanctuary for Peace in Williamsburg, Massachusetts, USA. (www.allthingspass.com).
Susan Moynihan coordinates Susan McLucas' speaking engagements. Susan has long been concerned with women’s rights and human rights around the globe, and became involved with Healthy Tomorrow in 2007. Susan lives in Somerville with her husband and daughters and works as a school librarian. If you would like Susan McLucas to speak to your group or class, please contact Susan Moynihan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Polly Laurelchild Hertig has worked in the arts, organizing theater productions and working for civil rights and other social causes.
Wyoma is a dance performance artist and facilitator of the African healing dance. She travels extensively including teaching and study in East, West, and Southern Africa. She has been a long-time supporter of peace and justice organizations. She offers a broad creative canvas to explore the human and divine forces of nature through traditional African, Caribbean, and Brazilian dance, and improvisation. She is also a spiritual counselor and offers group workshops with her partner. (www.wyomadance.com).
Assitan Sylla was born and raised in Mali. She is a "Soninke" from Baroueli. She came to the US for higher education so that she can participate in the development of her country. She studies Business Management at Cambridge College. In Mali she worked with a Peace Corps volunteer to increase access to education, especially for girls. She has been opposed to FGM ever since she learned about it first-hand as a girl. She is happy to support the efforts of Healthy Tomorrow and Sini Sanuman to fight against this life-threatening practice for the well-being of the Malian population. (Assitan.Sylla@cambridgecollege.edu)
Diane Andronica is a Media Technician at Harvard University. She holds a Masters Degree in Educational Media and Technology from Boston University. Diane helps us with this website and other technical matters. She lives in Medford, Massachusetts with her husband, three cats, and dog.
We welcome newcomers, especially those with an interest or experience in fund-raising.
From left: Kalifa Daou, Kaniba Baguiya, Susan McLucas (aka Mariam Sacko), Samou Robert Koné, Siaka Traoré, and Moussa Doumbia. Missing: Ramata Guissé, and Ibrahim Diallo.
Kaniba Baguiya Madame Sacko (left) convincing an exciser to stop
Samou Robert Koné (left) speaking to neighbors about FGM and inviting them to sign the Pledge Against Excision