People Helped in 2016: 536,417
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.
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. Security in the north of the country continued to deteriorate throughout 2017 due to the breakdown in the Bamako Peace Agreement and the resumption of hostilities between the signatory parties. At the same time, there has been an increase in criminal activity in a region in which weapons are multiplying and livelihoods have become scarcer.
Outside the conflict zones, the chronic vulnerability so characteristic of the Sahel persists, and the effects of climate change can clearly be observed. Food and nutrition insecurity are causing the forced displacement of people, 4.1 million people will need food assistance in 2018, almost half of them in Koulikoro, Sikasso and Ségou regions.
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. One of the major challenges facing us in 2018 will be to continue our resilience and development actions while maintaining an emergency response where necessary, in a highly complex situation involving a rise in number of armed actors.