In Mali, over half of the population lives below the international poverty line. Poverty in this country stems both from geographical and social problems. Two thirds of the country is a desert or semi-desert that experience long yearly periods of drought. While vulnerable populations in these areas already suffer from chronic food insecurity, the worsening droughts make it harder for people to cope with and recover from cyclical food shortages.
Widespread poverty, food insecurity, and instability from conflict have led to alarming numbers of childhood malnutrition. Malnutrition rates exceed the critical threshold on a national level, and the Sahel region of northern Mali is in a constant state of nutrition emergency. Malnutrition is the second leading cause of death in children under age five in the country.
Action Against Hunger has worked in Mali since 1996, providing both immediate assistance during emergencies and support for long-term development projects. We provide treatment for severely malnourished individuals, and support malnutrition management in public health facilities. To tackle the root causes of hunger, we have also implemented programs in food security and water, sanitation and hygiene.
In 2012, violent conflict in northern Mali compounded the effects of the Sahel food crisis for many families. Hundreds of thousands of people fled to neighboring countries, and those who remained in Mali faced food shortages and security threats. In response to these challenges, our teams are providing emergency relief in addition to the long-term programs already underway. Restoring stability after these crises is crucial for the country’s long-term development.