The children

The Life Cycle


The Life Cycle

© UNICEF/MLIA2010/Good
A newborn child is thoroughly dried, wrapped and weighed immediately after birth at a community health centre in Segou.

There are critical points in a child and woman's life cycle, namely:

• Birth and the neonatal period (the baby's first 28 days of life);
• Infancy (the first year of life); Childhood (pre-school, school years and adolescence);
• Adulthood (the reproductive years);
• Aging and death.

Children confront risks at every stage of life
The River Niger snakes across this vast landlocked West African country where women, children and men engage in an array of activities along its fertile banks. They farm, herd, and mine; transporting their produce in bright coloured canoes, and they wash cars, barter, sell ornate carvings, and swim in the murky waters.

Yet the vibrant energy bursting along the banks of the Niger River is misleading. A hostile climate in this mostly barren land of the Sahel region -- half of which is desert -- brings hardships for the majority of the nation’s 14.5 million people.

© UNICEF/MLIA2009-00031/Pirozzi
Boats or “pirogues” as they are called in French, sit in the Niger River harbour in the town of Mopti, central Mali.

The country is heavily dependent on foreign aid and vulnerable to fluctuations in world prices for cotton, its main export, along with gold. Despite efforts to reduce poverty, Mali is still one of the poorest countries in the world. Half of its population lives below the poverty line on less than one U.S. dollar a day.

Children struggle just to survive in Mali. Almost one child in every five dies before celebrating their fifth birthday. Those children who survive confront massive obstacles at each stage of their lives and most do not have their basic rights met.

Many Malians lack access to even basic social services, such as adequate health care and safe water. Skilled health workers and trained teachers are in dire short supply. And the large majority of the adult population do not know how to read and write, perpetuating the cycle of poverty.



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