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#VillageStory Bananso – Village of Gold: Promotion to a Small Town Through Efficient Management

August 02, 2021


A Village Experiences the Gold Rush

Bananso is located in southern Mali, not far from the border with Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast. The village has a large number of gold deposits. The local people have been operating a large and many small gold mines for some time and have been able to build up a good economic basis. This has led to a large influx of workers from outside, which has turned Bananso into a bustling small town in recent decades.


The town comes to life mainly during the dry season. During this time, seasonal workers come to the town from all over to be part of the gold rush and help in the mines with grinding, sieving and digging. Entire tent cities are built around the mines and the entertainment program and nightlife flourish. In the rainy season, most seasonal workers move away from the town and back home to their families, as the mosquitoes make working almost impossible.

In the rainy season, the river right next to the village becomes a major challenge. The bridge that connects the village to the main road disappears under water during this time and people either opt for a 150 km detour or dare to cross the river. Crossing the river is part of everyday life for the inhabitants - mopeds, animals and all kinds of goods are loaded onto small barges and transported across the river. However, the crossing is not without danger and the inhabitants expressly warn inexperienced people not to cross the river without further ado.

Bananso Has an Ideal Infrastructure

There is always plenty of business in the village during the day too. The range of goods on offer and the panorama of rivers and mountains provide good recreational opportunities. There is a large soccer pitch where young and old can play together. The red earth surface offers excellent hard pitch conditions. There is also a small health station in the village, which can provide quick help, especially in cases of acute malaria.


The Solartainer has changed a lot in Bananso too

More Cooling Possibilities Through Sustainable Electricity

The electricity from the solar containers is mainly used to cool food and drinks as well as for private use. Thanks to the good income from the gold trade, many families can afford private refrigerators, fans and televisions. Small restaurants and kiosks use the electricity to offer cool drinks and fresh goods. 

For example, a local drinks retailer immediately ordered another larger electricity connection and explained to us that it is much cheaper and more effective to cool his drinks in electrically powered freezers than having to buy and transport ice for them. He can now save a lot of time, make more sales and use the additional money generated to expand his business.


Power grid with smart meters

New Internet Services for the Future?

We also see great potential in offering and using internet services. Due to the high number of users, especially in the business district, the mobile phone network is currently overloaded time and again. For the future, there are also plans to run some of the machines used for gold mining on electricity instead of diesel. We are currently in the evaluation phase here together with the local people, as the equipment requires a high level of power.


Aida Schreiber with women from Bananso


Bananso assembly