About the Situation
By the Numbers
More than 14,159,000 people live in Mali
44% of people in Mali live below the national poverty line
30% of the population is unemployed
(Source: U.S. government, news sources)
Mali is considered among the poorest countries in the world—nearly one-third of its more than 14 million people are unemployed. And the vast majority of those who do work are in agriculture, which is an unstable industry in Mali considering that it is extremely vulnerable to droughts and locust invasions. The fluctuation and decline of gold prices, another major revenue source in Mali, also contributes to its weak economy.
Political unrest, droughts and the high risk of malaria in the region further strains Mali’s resources and worsens the living conditions for its people. According to recent report, 4.6 million people in the country are at risk for food insecurity.
Thousands Flee for Safety
In January 2013, violence erupted as international and government forces clashed with armed rebels in northern and western Mali. Many civilians, scrambling to protect themselves and their families, fled to neighboring countries—the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that some 1,440 refugees have fled due to this recent outbreak. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) adds that 30,000 people, including about 50% of the population of Konna—where the first clashes took place—are now internally displaced (IDPs).
How Islamic Relief is Helping
Islamic ReliefTM has been working in Mali since 1997, helping victims of the country’s civil war recover from the devastation of conflict. Following its initial relief efforts, Islamic Relief’s focus shifted toward development projects to reduce the population’s vulnerability to drought and illness.
Here’s a breakdown of some programs Islamic Relief has supported in Mali:
EMERGENCY & RECOVERY SUPPORT TO AFFECTED COMMUNITIES IN GOURMA RHAROUS
This project aims to improve communities’ food security status; the nutritional levels of school children; and livelihood assets by providing food-related cash-for-work activities. More than 54,900 people stand to benefit.
NORTH MALI FOOD SOVEREIGNTY
This project aims to provide the residents of Gouma Rharous with the capacity to develop agriculture and irrigation facilities that will promote sustainable food security and income-generation mechanisms to empower the community.
RAMADAN FOOD DISTRIBUTION
CHILD FRIENDLY VILLAGE
This program helped provide universal primary education, reduced child mortality, improved maternal health, promoted gender equality and empower women, and ensured environmental sustainability in communities that are home to more 34,209 people in southern Mali.
Islamic Relief was on the ground in Mali and Niger to provide vital aid to millions affected by severe drought conditions and food shortages across the Sahel region. Estimates suggest that some 4.6 million people in Mali risked food insecurity. Islamic Relief provided services such as water and food distribution and health care.
Islamic Relief helped provide malaria prevention and treatment to many throughout Mali. In addition to the distribution of mosquito nets, radio broadcast messages on malaria prevention helped educate millions on the disease and how to stop it. Malaria centers were equipped with medicines. In the Bamko region specifically, more than 120,000 people benefited from a program dedicated to bringing awareness, education and preventative health screenings to protect high-risk individuals from contracting malaria. Treatments were also administered to help those who already have malaria survive.
MALI VULNERABLE CHILDREN
IR constructed and equipped school facilities and a rural maternity center to improve health care, education, water and sanitation for more than 27,000 residents in Djitoumou. Locals were trained on techniques for sustainability so that they could learn the skills necessary to maintain the services independently.
MALI WATER AND SANITATION PROJECT
More than 26,600 people living in Kaiti, Koulikoro, received assistance in improving access to clean drinking water and sanitation facilities. This project helped raise awareness about water conversation and eco-friendly practices, and trained community members accordingly.
SCHOOL AND HEALTH KITS FOR CHILDREN IN MALI
IRUSA worked with a Gifts-in-Kind-participating organization and Islamic Relief Mali to send a container of educational and health-related materials for children. Packages included schoolbags, small chalkboards, pencils, calculators, and more, as well as hygiene packets and an instructional brochure for guidance.