Humanitarian and political background
In 2012, Mali sustained a series of crises that culminated in the takeover of northern regions by extreme Islamist groups. These groups committed gross human rights violations against the population.
Over half a million people fled their homes, with 150,000 Malians – mainly of Tuareg and Arab origins – taking refuge in neighbouring countries. At the peak of the crisis, 100,000 Malians sought sanctuary in Burkina Faso. Today, around 30,000 Malians remain uprooted.
NRC began operations in Burkina Faso in 2012.
Precarious stability, yet underfunding
Since the first outbreak of violence in 2012, Mali has been in a state of volatile stability. Temporary peace agreements dissolve into threats of armed clashes and terrorist attacks. As a result, those who fled remain in exile, unable to return.
International funding for the crisis has fallen sharply, and media interest wanes. At a time when needs are rising for Malian refugees, many agencies are struggling to provide the assistance they require.
People we helped in Burkina Faso and Mali in 2015
NRC in Burkina Faso
Through our Burkina Faso programme, we give emergency support to Malian refugees and work to ensure that children don't lose out on their education.
Although funding allocated to Burkina Faso remains limited, we provide assistance to people affected by the Malian conflict.
NRC has offices in Dori and Djibo providing assistance to refugees in the Mentao and Goudebou refugee camps.
In Burkina Faso, we deliver a combination of emergency assistance and recovery projects. We respond to the immediate needs of refugee households, while supporting their ability to recover from shock. We collaborate with our operation in Mali so that our activities will help Malian refugees when they return home.
As a leader of education in emergencies, we believe that no child should sacrifice his or her education in times of crisis.
In Burkina Faso, our education experts:
- Work to create formal and informal schooling opportunities for Malian refugee children and youth.
- Train teachers in refugee camp schools and those teaching in the formal education system.
- Repair damaged school buildings.
- Provide school kits, including notebooks and pencils.
- Provide vocational training and life skills to youth.
The harsh climatic conditions of the Sahel desert make life difficult for Malian refugees – scorching sun during the day, and frigid temperatures at night.
I am very, very happy. Look around, here is much more space. There is even enough space for the little ones to play inside, and I have room for visitors.
Fatima Welet Hamat (40) received cost-effective and environmentally friendly shelter building materials from NRC in Burkina Faso (2012).
Our shelter experts:
- Provide materials for transitional shelters to families in refugee camps.
- Distribute rope, machetes, mats, plastic sheeting and eucalyptus poles for refugees to build shelters.
- Design more durable shelters, based on traditional nomad designs and using carefully chosen materials to spare the environment and keep construction costs low.
- Prioritise support to women, who traditionally lead the way in constructing family shelters.
- Build health clinics and manage water trucking into camps.
Calling for US$ 2 billion for the Sahel
Today, United Nations agencies and partners launched the Sahel humanitarian appeal for 2016. The regional plan calls for US$1.98 billion, to provide vital assistance to millions of people affected by crises, in nine countries across Africa's Sahel region.
Recipe for a durable refugee shelter
NRC has engaged in close dialogue with Malian refugees in Burkina Faso to develop a durable shelter, suited to the harsh climate of the Sahel. The shelter design is based on traditional nomad designs and utilizes carefully chosen materials to spare the environment and keep construction costs low.