Protecting children and women from violence, abuse, and exploitation requires a comprehensive child protection system that addresses the full spectrum of risks they face.
Children and young people in Mali, and especially girls, continue to bear the brunt of the country’s complex and protracted crisis, risking their lives, losing their homes, being abducted and recruited by armed groups, separated from families, and exposed to sexual and gender-based violence.
At 83% of girls affected, Mali has one of the highest female genital mutilation (FGM) rates worldwide. FGM carries serious health consequences and increases the likelihood of dying during childbirth. At the same time, 49% of girls in Mali are married before they turn 18. Being married robs a girl of her childhood and increases the likelihood of early pregnancy and school dropout.
Too many children in Mali, especially those in conflict-affected areas, still do not benefit from their first fundamental right: the right to an identity. The official recording of a child's birth establishes the existence of the child under law and provides the foundation for safeguarding many of the child's civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.