As a teacher, she was the first female civil engineer in construction in Mali. She was Minister for Housing, Land Affairs and Urban Planning under ATT. Here is his portrait in a few lines.
Ms. Gakou Salamata Fofana was born in Kayes in 1956 and was the first female civil engineer in Mali to obtain an engineering degree in applied sciences from the National School of Engineers of Bamako ENI in 1981. In 1984 she began her professional career as a teacher at the Lycée technique de Bamako. She will hold various positions including: Seconded Officer to the National Office of Manpower and Employment from 1992 to 2001; National and Administrative Coordinator of the Self-Renewing Fund for Employment from 1999 to 2001 and Technical Advisor for Social Housing at the Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning from June 2004 until her appointment on October 3, 2007 to the Ministerial Post for Housing, Land Affairs and Urban Planning. She also founded the Association of Women Engineers of Mali (AFIMA) in July 1990, which she managed as Agency for the Promotion of Private Enterprises (APEP) and the African Network of Women Engineers and Scientists from 2000 to 2003. She left government on March 30, 2011.
Ms. Gakou Salimata is one of those Malians who believe that Mali’s development is linked to that of science, technology and innovation. For her, “countries like China, Japan or India have developed through new technologies. Therefore, our education system must deepen the development of scientific courses for the happiness of our country”. The sciences have opened all doors for him, even those that were considered impassable. She devotes every moment of her life to the popularization of science and especially girls’ access to scientific fields in Mali. She has published several books on these topics, including “Women and Development” and “Girls’ Access and Performance in Science in Mali”. “A single finger cannot pick up a pebble”. Gakou Salimata knows this proverb well from home.
Three years after its first participation in the 8th World Congress of Women Engineers in Abidjan, the Association of Women Engineers of Mali (AFIMA) now has more than 400 members and, thanks to them, several achievements. Salimata Fofana helps organize the first science camp for young girls with the Pathfinder Foundation of Dr. Cheick Modibo Diarra. The camp, renamed the Camp of Excellence, lasts two weeks and ends with the organization of the Good Student Day at the Koulouba Palace, broadcast live on national television.
Ultimately, Ms. Gakou is a brave woman. She takes part in the fight for women’s emancipation, the development of science and the participation of young girls.
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