The children

The Life Cycle


Preschool years and School Age

© UNICEF Mali/2013 /Dicko
Group of children aged 3 to 6 years sitting in the playground of a nursery school in Soubanafa located in Sareykeïna neighbourhood in Tombouctou. Tombouctou region is located about 1050 km from Bamako the capital, and is the 6th largest region of Mali.

When children survive their fifth birthday, they scarcely enjoy their basic rights. Only a few children under six have access to preschool programmes that are nevertheless essential to their cognitive development and socialization.

A large number of children, especially girls, do not attend school. At national level, gross enrollment increased from 45% (50% boys, 39% girls) in 2001 to 75% (79% boys, 72% girls) in 2010. Despite this significant development, the gap between girlsand boysis still wide.

The quality of education is compromised by high teacher-student ratios and overcrowding in poorly constructed classrooms. Repetition and dropout rates in primary education are high, especially among girls in rural communities.


© UNICEF Mali/ 2010 / Dicko
A Bella woman with her child around the Doro marshland in Gao the 7th Region of Mali. This small Bella community benefits from activities supported by UNICEF in several domains.

Girls are also at greater risk of early school dropout so as to get married, help with heavy housework or migrate to cities in neighboring countries, often in failed attempts to escape from extreme poverty at home. They are particularly vulnerable to child trafficking and other forms of exploitation.

It seems that more than one million children are currently out of school.According to the UNESCO Institute of Statistics (2010), before the crisis, more than 800,000 children were out of school. Following the recent events, the education of nearly 700,000 more children has been compromised. As regards children affected by the crisis, about 200,000 children living in the north have lost the previous school year, and run the risk of losing the 2013-2014 school year.

36% of children aged 5-14 years (33% boys and 38% girls) are involved in child labour in Mali. This percentage is significantly higher in rural areas (39%) than in urban areas (24%) (MICS 2010).



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