The Life Cycle
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);
Children confront risks at every stage of life
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.
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.