Mali, the eighth-largest country in Africa sits landlocked in the western region of the continent. Hunger in Mali is often driven by drought and conflict in the region. There have been three major droughts that affected Mali in the last decade. In March 2012, the country faced a coup and a rebellion in the north.
According to a report from the World Food Programme, approximately 475,000 people were displaced from their homes after a major conflict in the northern part of the country. The country also suffered from food insecurity and faced issues of nutrition during this time.
In the northern regions of Mali, including Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal, about one-fifth of the households experience food shortages. Additionally, approximately 15 percent of children are afflicted with acute malnutrition in Mali, according to the report.
According to an article from Action Against Hunger, rates of malnutrition in Mali “exceed the critical threshold on a national level.” Specifically, the Sahel region of northern Mali is perpetually in a state of nutrition emergency.
Since 1996, Action Against Hunger has provided treatment for malnourished Malians and helped to develop support malnutrition management in public health facilities.
In 2015, the World Food Programme reported that 2.5 million Malians were struggling to feed their families, and just over 300,000 of the country’s residents were considered to be in need of severe food assistance.
The report also stated that over half of the women in Mali are anemic. Furthermore, approximately 80 percent of children in Mali suffer from anemia.
Hunger in Mali is also worsened by over half the country living below the national poverty line. However, aid from global organizations has helped Mali in respect to food insecurity.
According to their report, the World Food Programme utilizes a cross-border operation from Niger to transport food to northern Mali. This organization also assists the country’s residents by providing them with cash to purchase fresh produce.
While hunger in Mali remains a pressing issue, the stress of food insecurity has the potential to be lessened by global organizations.
– Leah Potter