Children and adolescents can unlock the door to prosperity, peace and development
Mali ranks 184 out of 189 countries on the 2019 Human Development Index, and 44 per cent of Mali’s population live below the national poverty line. This proportion is even higher among children (47.5 per cent). Nearly 60 per cent of children are deprived of three or more of the following: nutrition, quality education, shelter, clean water, hygienic sanitation, health care, and protection, among others.
In line with the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030, UNICEF in Mali supports the Ministry of Finance and other ministries’ national efforts to address child deprivation. This is done through identifying the vulnerabilities and deprivations faced by children in Mali and encouraging the use of data to guide national development and poverty reduction policies & strategies, so that they help children live better lives and improve their prospects.
UNICEF in Mali also supports the government and other partners to develop child-friendly budgets that take into account the rights of children, women and other vulnerable groups and design strategies to mobilize public & private resources for children.
We also support government and non-governmental actors to develop, coordinate and implement social protection mechanisms and services that are child-sensitive and equity-based. In 2019, social protection of vulnerable families was strengthened, with an increase of almost 17% in the proportion of households benefitting from social protection programmes as compared to 2018. In order to further enhance social protection coverage for vulnerable children and families, UNICEF supports the Government to design a social protection floor in Mali.
Finally, in the context of the roll out of universal health insurance, UNICEF supports the Government in identifying the poorest families (including children) in order to ensure they can benefit from free healthcare.
Communication for Development
UNICEF in Mali encourages communities and young people to engage in free and open dialogue around the issues that concern them the most, with a view to developing sustainable solutions, adopting positive and healthy practices and fostering social cohesion and peacebuilding.
UNICEF’s Communication for Development section supports the Ministry of Digital Economy and Communication across all sectors to promote positive social and behaviour change, in particular community uptake of key family practices such as prenatal consultations, breastfeeding, handwashing with soap and cognitive stimulation of young children. UNICEF in Mali supports the training of community actors, including role model mothers, to deliver key promotional messages around key family practices, health and protection. In central Mali, an additional focus is put on inter and intra community conflict prevention and management, peacebuilding and social cohesion at community level.
U-Report, an innovative SMS-based platform for young people, is also leveraged in Mali to encourage dialog and youth expression and participation across the country.
Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation
As a cross-cutting function, UNICEF in Mali’s Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (PME) section works with a wide range of partners, including government, other United Nations agencies, and technical and financial partners to strengthen the availability and analysis of timely, quality statistics, assessments, studies and evaluations to inform policies and programmes in favour of children’s rights. We support the conducting of Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS), Situation Analysis for Children, and other major research and studies. Strengthening national information systems, such as DevInfo Mali, results-based monitoring and national evaluation capacities is a key part of our work.
The PME section also provides operational planning, oversight, and strategic monitoring, of rolling working plans of the current country programme document, which spans 2020-2024.
The PME section also works in collaboration with partners and UNICEF staff to strengthen field monitoring, quality assurance of activities, and accountability to partners, children, youth and their communities.
UNICEF in Mali’s External Communication section works with national and international media as primary channels for public advocacy in favour of the promotion and protection of children’s rights: especially the most vulnerable. Areas of focus for public advocacy include the return to school of out-of-school children, the prevention of all forms of malnutrition, the promotion of the health of the youngest children and the protection of children, especially girls, against all forms of violence.
UNICEF also works to promote children’s right to expression and participation, in keeping with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which was ratified by Mali in 1990. To this end, UNICEF works the Ministry for the Promotion of Women, Children and Family and partner media to increase children’s communications and advocacy skills, including through the use of photography, new technology and radio journalism. UNICEF also supports the National Children’s Parliament in Mali and works with national media to increase the space given to children’s issues and to promote child-led journalism.