Child Protection




Feature Stories



© UNICEF/MLIA2010/Asselin
A woman who underwent FGM as a girl talks openly with a local animator about her continued health complications.

Combating harmful traditional practices

The policy document and 2008-2012 action plan of the National Programme for Combating Excision (PNLE), validated in 2008, is in the process of Government adoption. It is now the reference document for all stakeholders engaged in combating excision in Mali over the next five years. The policy document and 2010-2014 national action plan for combating early and forced marriage, prepared in a participatory process, was finalized by all child protection stakeholders and is in the process of submission to the Cabinet Meeting for adoption by the Government.
As part of an advocacy plan to prepare specific legislation prohibiting the practice of excision, UNICEF provided assistance for Government officials and civil society partners to participate in study tours, international and sub-regional meetings. The recommended outcomes of these meetings call on Mali to adopt laws prohibiting excision and propose that the issue of excision should be addressed at the sub-regional and international level. In follow-up, UNICEF-Mali has supported PNLE and civil society partners in formulating a proposal for legislation against excision. Furthermore, UNICEF has consistently supported the PNLE in sensitizing political, religious and community leaders, families and communities on the harmful effects of FGM/Excision. In 2007, 925 DVDs of the movie "Nyani" on FGM/C were reproduced and disseminated nationwide, and the Minister of Health issued a circular letter prohibiting the practice of female circumcision in medical environments.
UNICEF also supports the PNLE in the establishment of Local Committees for Abandoning Harmful Traditional Practices (CLAPN) in all districts of the country and the six municipalities in Bamako District. Community dialogue was established between local leaders, religious authorities, women's associations, excisionists, traditional birth attendants (TBA), traditional communicators, Government administration, and justice and health officials. Furthermore, TBAs underwent a regional health training on the harmful effects of excision.

To further encourage abandonment of excision, the integrated mass communication strategy initiated in 2008 (theatre forum, “Cinéma Numérique Ambulant” (CNA), local radio stations and national television) continued in 2009 in 210 villages in Kayes, Koulikoro and Sikasso regions. Thus far, 420 theatre forum sessions and 300 mobile cinema screening sessions were organized, helping to inform some 540,000 people on the link between excision and complications to reproductive health, and the relationship between excision and the rights of children and women. The preliminary results of these local mass communication and outreach activities, conducted with UNICEF support, were public and collective declarations of abandonment of the practice of excision in 50 villages in 2009.

A harmonized training plan for socio-health workers, lawyers and legal assistants on the integrated management of excision-related complications was prepared and validated in 2009. Social workers trained in the medical management of excision-related complications. Additonally, the PNLE and its partners have developed and adopted a plan for active identification and management of victims of excision-related complications. Advocacy is continues for inclusion of this plan in community-based health initiatives. 1,100 kits for the medical management of excision-related complications were delivered in December 2009 by UNICEF to PNLE for national support structures, such as the Government-run Hospitals (EPH) of Point G, Kati, Gabriel Touré Hospital and Reference Health Centres in the six municipalities of Bamako District. Between 2007 and 2009, the PNLE was able to handle 343 cases of girls/women suffering from excision-related complications in health facilities.

© UNICEF/MLIA2009/Traore
A boy takes a momentary break while working in the main market in Bamako, the capital.

Justice for children

As a result of UNICEF support in particular, encouraging results were obtained in juvenile justice as follows:

  • The number of children detained by the Police and /or Gendarmerie fell from 923 (631 boys and 292 girls) in 2006 to 765 (582 boys and 183 girls) in 2007;
  • The number of children brought before the courts from among the children detained by the Police and/or Gendarmerie fell from 322 (230 boys and 92 girls) out of a total of 923 children in 2006 to 301 out of 765 children in 2007;
  • In 2006, 322 children were brought before juvenile courts and 217 remanded in prisons and other detention centres, while in 2007, the number of children brought before the courts and remanded in custody fell to 301 (234 boys and 67 girls) and 167 children (119 boys and 48 girls) respectively;
  • The number of children in custody following a conviction fell from 155 (147 boys and 8 girls) in 2006 to 49 (five girls and 44 boys) in 2007.
  • In addition, recreational activities were offered to children in 35 out of 54 detention facilities, while 33 institutions offered emotional support (provided by social workers, in particular). The number of meals for the children increased from one to three per day in all the 54 institutions.

Birth registration

As a result of UNICEF support, qualitative and quantitative progress has been made in access to civil services in Kayes, Segou and Gao Regions, where the number of birth declaration centres has increased from 387 to 2,896 as follows:

  • 98 centres in 2006 to 943 in 2007 in Kayes region;
  • 289 centres in 2006 to 1,373 in 2008 in Ségou region;
  • 34 centres against 300 new centres in 2009 in Gao region.

The presence of these centres has greatly increased birth registration rates, improving the national birth registration rate from 53.3 per cent in 2006 to 73.84 per cent in 2008.

Children who live and work on the street
At the community-level, border villages and some endemic child migration villages have organized community surveillance structures to provide appropriate responses to child migration, trafficking and exploitation.

Stakeholders involved in family reunions increasingly offer children appropriate, high-quality social services. These include providing guidance and support, talk therapy and facilitating family reunions. A monitoring committee, under ICCB coordination, supervises the activities of these stakeholders.

Additionally, 25 focal points and division managers in DRPFEF trained in advocacy for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) in all the regions of Mali and Bamako District have initiated and implemented campaigns and advocacy sessions in their respective localities.

Through trainings, surveys and experience with communities, UNICEF Mali has gained a better understanding of the dangers imposed on children who live and work and those most at risk of trafficking or forced migration. Through this, we are working to advocate on behalf of the most marginalised and implement change through wide-reaching protections.




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