SALT LAKE CITY — The Ouelessebougou Alliance has announced it will host its 26th annual Dinner Auction on Saturday at the Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City.

Each year the Ouelessebougou Alliance hosts this event to raise 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 group 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.

This year, about 500 items will be up for auction. 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).

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 or call 801-983-6254.