Mali: Hiri Maguiraga

I am involved in preparing the granddaughter of today to be the woman of tomorrow.

— Hiri Maguiraga

Hiri Maguiraga was born in Nioro du Sahel, a town in the Kayes region, in 1949. She is a teacher and a strong fighter for women’s causes. She holds a diploma from the former Pedagogic Institute for General Teaching (IPEG). She is divorced and the mother of six children, a situation she does not regret at all and which she attributes to an act of God. And she says: "We cannot aspire to having a stable world until everyone has the right to education and women’s education becomes a priority."

Madame Hiri Maguiraga is an educational adviser responsible for girls’ schooling and the development of women. She is excited by the idea of promoting the development of women and preparing the granddaughter of today to be the woman of tomorrow. Her work encompasses information, education, communication (IEC), meetings, general assemblies, mounting projects, financial research, and the formation and development of partnerships. The struggle that pre-occupies Hiri Maguiraga goes back to the advent of democracy in Mali. This has favored the development of women’s associations in the area of Nioro du Sahel that had only two associations in 1991, but has 33 today. This development had rapid consequences in the area since the majority of the rural women notice today that some of their rights are now recognized, especially in local level decisions. Thanks to the actions of Hiri Maguiraga and her colleagues, women do participate in the community management. This is a big advancement in a long cycle of ambient feudalism in relations between men and women. Now, the women have an equal chance of employment, work, professional remuneration, and the right to instruction. Under the direction of Hiri Maguiraga and her colleagues in the women’s movement, women’s associations also make a strong stand against forced marriages. They support civil marriage and the abandonment of the harmful practice of female circumcision.

Coordination des Associations et ONG Feminines du Mali (CAFO) locale, Nioro du Sahel