Mali is a Western African country with a population of over 21 million people. And like many impoverished African countries, Mali faces various challenges such as low school attendance rates, poor hygiene and gender inequality. This article outlines the challenges when it comes to living conditions in Mali and efforts to change the status quo.
UNICEF has reported that over two million Malian children between the ages of 5 to 17 do not attend school due to child marriage, child labor and a lack of schools in the country. To address this issue, UNICEF has partnered with the Ministry of National Education to improve school attendance rates, especially for vulnerable children. In 2019, the organization helped over 200,000 Malian children return to school, providing equal opportunities to all.
Increasing Access To Water and Sanitation
Mali struggles with poor-quality water and sanitation, and this affects the health of millions of people in the country. WaterAid has installed clean water taps and handwashing stations, allowing locals to live healthier lives. In Bamako, WaterAid worked with locals to fix the water tower and toilets in Lafiabogou, which supports the AMALDEME Medical Educational System aiding 600 children with learning difficulties.
Using Sustainable Agriculture To Combat Food Insecurity
Inflation and food insecurity are major issues in Mali due to war and other factors. The World Bank has approved a $30 million credit from the International Development Association to improve agricultural productivity and alleviate food insecurity for rural households living in drylands. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) also invests in their Feed The Future Programme to support the farming of cereals and livestock, contributing to the nutrition of people in Mali and keeping farming families in business.
Rights for Women
Gender inequality remains a significant societal issue in Mali. Statistics from SOS Children’s Villages show that an estimated 92% of women in Mali have undergone Female Genital Mutilation. Teenage marriages are also common for Malian women with approximately 75% of women in the country being married by the age of 18.
As presented by Together Women Rise, in 2013, Mali Health’s Health Savings program was created to improve the healthcare of Women in slums in Bamako. Since then, the project has expanded and now serves seven communities and 3,335 women in Bamako. Mali Health’s community health workers use the project to facilitate links between local communities and clinics.
The aim of providing these links with women and health clinics is so they can receive health education surrounding reproductive care and child nutrition. The health project also allows women to come together in a safe social environment in which they can learn behaviors that promote everyday health practices which can reduce the frequency of illness in the area.
Despite the challenges, charitable organizations offer hope for the future of Mali. By improving education, access to water and sanitation, agriculture and women’s rights, Malians can live safe and healthy lives while accessing equal opportunities.
– Freddie Trevanion