29 May 2020

Country Programme of Cooperation 2020-2024

Mali is home to an estimated 19.8 million people, more than half of whom are children. Despite recent economic growth, it remains one of the poorest countries in the world. Mali is frequently affected by floods and droughts and has been affected by armed conflict since 2012. Together, these crises are having an impact on the lives of 2 million children. In the early years (0 to 5 years), children in Mali are exposed to malnutrition and diseases stemming from lack of immunization and limited access to clean water. Malnutrition and illness impact the mental, physical, social and emotional development of young children and can affect their ability to do well in school. Despite some progress in reducing child mortality, one in ten children never sees their fifth birthday. In 2018, 29 per cent of children under the age of 1 had not received their third dose of DPT3, while only 40 per cent of infants were exclusively breastfed during their first six months. Many young children, particularly those in rural areas, also do not benefit from their very first right: that to an identity. Far too few children in Mali benefit from early learning: only 7 per cent of children aged 3 to 5 were enrolled in preschool in 2018. Meanwhile, 89 per cent of girls undergo female genital mutilation (FGM), with many undergoing the practice before age 5. As children grow, they face numerous other challenges, including access to school. Around 1.2 million children of primary-school age (53 per cent girls) are out of school. The situation is aggravated by insecurity: in January 2020, over 1,100 schools were closed.