Our Success in
Started working in Mali
(Women & Girls)
The Situation in Mali
Mali has one of the youngest populations in the world with a median age of 16.2 years. The weak infrastructure, high population growth and low levels of human capital are among many obstacles that hinder Mali’s economic development.
Food insecurity: About 18% of the Malian population suffers from food and nutrition insecurity. That is 3.8 million people with 42% of the national population living below the poverty line and 24% of Malian children being chronically malnourished. The Ségou region is located in the Sudanese agro-ecological zone of Mali and is characterized by chronic food insecurity and malnutrition, exacerbated by the effects of climate change among many others. These regions, where the population’s livelihood depends largely on agriculture and livestock, have experienced localized production declines that have led to rapid depletion of supplies. More than 80% of the population is in a situation of severe, moderate or weak food insecurity.
Conflict, social and political challenges: The impact of natural disasters is compounded by social, economic, and political shocks that prevent people from producing or buying enough food and often lead to involuntary displacement and population movements (IDPs, returnees). The target area has been the scene of armed conflict since 2016. In recent years, the Segou region has hosted hundreds of thousands of refugees from the neighboring Mopti region following recurrent attacks on villages in the towns/counties of Bankass, Bandiagara, Koro, and Douentza since 2018. Since the beginning of the conflicts, insecurity has led to the internal displacement of more than 350,000 people, including 61% children and 56% women, mainly in the northern and central regions (Mopti, Gao, Segou Timbuktu and Ménaka).
Conflicts are intensifying partly due to increasing pressure on natural resource. Added to this is the socio-professional diversity of the population (Bambara, Bozo and Fulani, who practice agriculture, fishing and cattle breeding, respectively). In addition, mistrust, hatred and threats of revenge killings have destroyed mutual trust. Therefore, it is important to build capacity for conflict management to strengthen social organization at the community level. There are acute deficits in social communication; young people in particular, who are at risk of becoming involved in violent interethnic conflicts, lack opportunities to meet on peaceful platforms.
Lack of knowledge on climate resilient farming techniques: Farmers, especially IDPs/returnees, women, and youth, lack knowledge of climate-resilient techniques such as soil quality restoration and improvement, water mobilization techniques, adapted seed varieties and cropping practices, etc.; producers have limited opportunities or platforms for sharing and deepening knowledge and sharing experiences of successful climate change adaptation strategies.
Youth unemployment, Ineffective vocational training systems, and Risk of recruitment by violent groups: Approximately 65% of the total population is under the age of 24 (USAID, 2018). The Malian economy is fragile and unable to absorb young people who have completed school, let alone those who have dropped out and do not have a degree. While stability in central Mali is a key factor in the country’s overall stability, Ségou has a high number of unemployed boys and girls – of whom, for example, nearly 12,000 (4,906 boys and 6,755 girls) dropped out of school at the start of 2022.
A study conducted by the NGOs ORFED and OSIWA found that drug use is quite common in the 20-29 age group. Many other youth have fallen into the trap of crime and violence. Others have joined violent self-defense movements and form the backbone of these movements – around 8600 youth are involved in these movements, which illustrates the scale of the problem.
The lack of access to employment and income, and the associated lack of prospects, is a major challenge for young people. Vocational training and apprenticeship programs in the target groups are scattered. Coupled with poorly equipped and insufficiently empowered training centers, and no systematic support to local enterprises in providing apprenticeships all of these hinder the efficiency and effectiveness of vocational training approaches. School fees and indirect education costs (for transportation, materials, etc.) usually make it impossible for vulnerable youth to complete an apprenticeship.
Lack of access to agricultural inputs and credit: Affected populations have suffered significant losses of productive assets during repeated conflicts, they have limited financial resources to (re)invest in agriculture, livestock, or trade. In particular, women, women-headed households (FHHH), youth, and poor people lack access to credit. Microcredit institutions are concerned about the risk of high crop losses associated with climate change and population displacement caused by insecurity.
Families with people with disabilities are disproportionately affected by all of the above problems, making them the most vulnerable to acute poverty and food insecurity.
 USAID, 2018
 World Bank, Development Indicators, 2019
 UNHCR, 2022
 Statistics of the educational academy in Segou, from an interview in February 2022.
 Advocacy Project for a Review of Malian Drug Laws in Mali, July 2017, page 4.
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