This profile was prepared when Cheick Amala Tabouré was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1994.
The New Idea
Based on a careful survey of community domestic waste water–practices, needs and resources–Cheick Tabouré has designed a low-cost improved household septic tank system, created a loan fund to enable households to afford it, and trained unemployed local youth to construct the tanks.On the heels of a highly successful pilot demonstration in one of Bamako's most crowded neighborhoods, Bagadadji, Cheick is consolidating his institutional base in order to expand the effort both geographically and programmatically. He is already inundated with requests from other quarters in Bamako to provide septic tank construction, and he aims to expand to similar cities throughout the Sahel. Planned programmatic expansion is of two types. Firstly, he expects to develop downstream products for households with septic tanks, such as tank cleaning services and latrine improvements. Perhaps most significantly, he will undertake more health and environmental education activities with families putting in septic tanks. For example, he would like to build on current activities such as community debates on hygiene and public cleanliness with information services to mothers on pre-natal and neo-natal health care.Cheick dreams of every urban household in Mali having a septic tank and a sticker on the door saying "Let Us Protect Our Environment." He envisions a future in which the streets of the city of Bamako are free of waste water, garbage is collected and carried away, and malaria and dysentery are eliminated.