Sharing Household Work: A Story From Mali

Sharing Household Work: A Story From Mali

Publication info

Ousmane Goulaka

This is a story told to us by Ousmane Goulaka after he received training on gender and social transformation as part of CARE’s Pathways to Empowerment program in Mali. Pathways to Empowerment is based on the conviction that women farmers possess enormous potential to contribute to long-term food security for their families and substantially impact nutritional outcomes in sustainable ways.

My name is Mr. Ousmane Goulaka. I am a farmer from Mandoli Commune in Bara Sara, Bandiagara Circle, an administrative circle in Mopti. Mopti is the fifth region of Mali, centrally located in the inland delta.  In my role as a representative for the village, I took part in a training on gender and social transformation that was organized by CARE and its local partner organization YA-G-TU.

During this training, many topics were brought up, but I was especially impressed by the division of labor between household members.  As I left the training, many ideas were going through my head about which tasks I could take on to help my wife with her household work.  Immediately after the training in the village, I committed to my wife to personally take care of providing household water. Since then I have taken on this task using my barrel, water cans and cart. I am currently the only man in my village who is doing this job, but I have no problem with what I am doing.

Since I have started sharing household tasks, I am proud of the help that I give my family. I have noticed that my wife is feeling very relieved, because if you know Bandiagara, you understand that it’s located on the Dogon plateau. There are very few streams, and those that exist are often at the foot of the hills; you need to climb up and down to get to the water, and make several trips – carrying it all on your head.

Since I have saved my wife from this laborious task, she is able to take better care of herself. She doesn’t have injuries on her feet or other parts of her body because she no longer falls on the rocks while getting water. She now uses the time she used to spend getting water for her own interests.

I have become the pride of the family. The other men who first thought I was strange are beginning to understand me. I am sure that they will soon be following my lead because their wives and children are now talking about me with envy, especially about the benefits for their own mother. These other men are no better than me and they now see that I feel good about myself and am going to continue to do what I started.

I am grateful to CARE for the project and the YA-G-TU team, without which I would never have understood or taken this decision to help my wife, who has started to become prettier, more charming and happier than ever.

© Ousmane Goulaka


Jemimah Njuki - The Missing Link