The Ouelessebougou (pronunciation: Wuh-less-uh-boo-goo) Alliance (the Alliance) today announced it will host its 26th Annual Dinner Auction on Saturday, May 12, at the Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City.
Each year the Alliance hosts this event to raise much-needed funds to support the people of Mali, West Africa, through a long-term development relationship. Founded in 1985 by a group of community leaders in Utah who were concerned about the devastating drought that affected much of North Africa through the '80s, the Alliance was structured to give people the opportunity to serve a specific African community with the knowledge that their assistance was going directly to the people for whom it was intended.
“Since founding this organization, we have been able to assist many rural villages in Mali’s Ouelessebougou region in their efforts to transform their communities. The Alliance has improved the lives of thousands of citizens over the past 26 years, but there is still a lot of work to do,” said Jennifer Beckstead, executive director of the Alliance. “This dinner auction will help us continue to make strides in getting them the assistance they need to make Mali a more self-sustaining country.”
This year, about 500 items will be up for auction, 400 of which were donated by local businesses, including travel packages, electronics, gift certificates, and indigenous pieces of African art crafted by the people of Mali. Auction proceeds will go to help the Ouelessebougou villagers identify their most crucial needs and develop viable and sustainable solutions in the areas of health, education and economic development. Past Alliance projects have included:
- Constructing more than 130 drinking and garden wells
- Providing 60,000 vaccinations (people now live disease free in 30 villages)
- Providing 9,000 mosquito nets (protecting 29,000 villagers)
- Constructing more than 50 classrooms (supporting nearly 2,000 primary students)
- Teaching literacy classes to more than 5,000 adults
- Providing 400 loans for individuals and villages (91 percent have been repaid or are current)
“This dinner auction is the only community event we hold each year, and a great deal of our funding comes directly from the event,” added Beckstead. “We rely heavily on the attendance and support of the local community to be able to raise funds for our various projects, and we are humbled year after year with the number of individuals and businesses that step up and help us make a difference.”
Major corporate sponsors for this event include The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Deseret Management Corporation, KSL, Leatherby’s, Mindshare Technologies, Nu Skin and SkullCandy. For information on how to purchase tickets for this event, visit www.LiftEachother.org or call 801-983-6254.