The children

The Life Cycle


The Life Cycle

© UNICEF Mali/2010/Asselin
A newborn in the arms of its mother carefully wrapped and dried.

There are essential points in the life cycle of a child and a woman, namely:
• Birth and neonatal period (the first 28 days of the life of a baby);
• early childhood (the first year of life); childhood (nursery school, school and adolescence);
• Adult age;
• Old age and death.

Children face risks at each stage of their lives.

The Niger River runs through this large West African country where women, children and men carryout a number of activities along its fertile banks, particularly agriculture, fisheries, livestock, and mining. They transport their products in canoes with bright colours and wash cars, trade by barter, sell sculptures, and swim in the murky waters.

However, the considerable activity along the river banks is misleading. The land is much affected by the dryness of the Sahel region, half of which consists of desert with a hostile climate that complicates the lives of most of the 2,865,000 Malian children (SOWC 2014).

The country depends heavily on foreign aid and is vulnerable to fluctuations in world prices of cotton, its main export, and 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 of one US dollar per day.

For children, survival is a struggle. Nearly one in five children die before celebrating their fifth birthday. Children who survive face serious obstacles at each stage of their lives and, for most of them, their basic rights are not respected.

Many Malians do not even have access to basic social services, such as adequate health care and safe water. Health workers and qualified teachers are desperately short of supplies. In addition, the vast majority of the adult population cannot read or write, a situation which helps to maintain the cycle of poverty.



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