Formerly a language teacher, Boukary Konaté is now the head webmaster at the Malian Education Ministry. Beyond his official work, he is active with a number of projects. He publishes a regularly updated blog in both Bambara and French, he does outreach work in Malian villages focusing on Bambara literacy and ICT (information and communication technology), and he does translation work for Global Voices, an international community of bloggers who report on blogs and citizen media from around the world.
He is an extraordinary person. I was fortunate to spend a morning with him at the Malian Education Ministry. We discussed his work and vision, and then I taught him how to draw a camel. See videos below (transcript on the way). If you are using an RSS reader, click here to access the post and view the videos.
Question 1: Could you describe your official work as well as some of the informal projects that you work on?
Question 2: In the rural areas, I know almost every Malian I come across has a cell phone, but as far as Internet access goes in the rural areas, is there a cyber cafe in some villages? How are these people getting access to the Internet where they could post things in Bambara or read things in Bambara?
Question 3: Why do you think this type of work is important?
Question 4: What is Global Voices? What’s the point of that website?
Normally I would charge several thousand dollars for a private workshop like this, but because Boukary took time out of his day for the interview, I offered him a complimentary session. At the end of the video you will notice the striking difference between Boukary’s before and after camels.
If you would like to draw camels like Boukary, you need to pick up a copy of my groundbreaking How to Draw Camels Ebook.
For a great supplement to the interview, check out this piece from rising voices.
Coming soon on howtodrawcamels.com
I am meeting with a women’s cooperative today in Bamako and I will also be connecting with Project Muso, a non-profit focusing on women’s empowerment, later this week. Stories, video and plenty of camel drawing to come.