Women in Mali have developed over the last decades specific skills in terms of textile dyeing. This activity provides many employment opportunities for women, as their production is being exported all throughout the sub-region. However, since chemical dyeing products are being used and polluted waste water released in water drainage canals or in the Niger River, this activity entails water pollution and raises serious health hazards for women.
In that context, an eco-friendly dyeing factory was constructed in Bamako along the Niger riverThe center opened in November 2011 and provides employment to 200 women. Waste water is filtered and work conditions improved. Women have been trained to use the new equipment and operate the center through a management committee. They are also provided technical support to diminish the global volume of water and chemicals used in the production process, so as to increase productivity and curb environmental impact. Some of them also expressed their wish to explore other more eco-friendly techniques based on natural dyes.
This activity was implemented as part of the "Niger-Loire : Governance and Culture" 2008-2011 project, coordinated by UNESCO Bamako office and World Heritage Centre with funding from the European Union (Water Facility programme).