Humanitarian and political background
In 2012, when radical groups took control of Mali's northern regions, more than half a million Malians were displaced from their homes. 150,000 escaped to neighbouring countries, and roughly 350,000 became displaced inside Mali.
Contested control and fragile government
In 2013, French military forces retook control of key areas in the north from radical groups. However, armed groups seeking independence for the north continued to destabilise the area. As a result, the UN deployed a peacekeeping mission (MINUSMA) to help restore state authority in the north.
Displaced Malians began returning to their home areas. A successful presidential election in late 2013 and the beginning of peace negotiations between armed groups and the government in early 2014 led to hopes of long-lasting peace.
Yet the peace negotiations proved difficult. Conflict between groups seeking independence for the north and the central government continued, leaving hundreds of thousands of people unable to return home.
On 20 June 2015, a peace agreement was finally signed between the two major armed coalitions and the Malian government. Since then, state authorities have gradually returned to the north, providing basic state services in the largest towns. However, there are still limited peace dividends and many remote areas have inadequate or no basic services, such as healthcare and education.
Those who have stayed put since the eruption of conflict are vulnerable to violence, extreme poverty, chronic food insecurity, discrimination, and lack of protection.
Lack of funding
Despite the large humanitarian needs, funding for Mali has fallen sharply. The 2016 Mali Strategic Response Plan (SRP) is only funded at 25 per cent, making Mali one of the most underfunded humanitarian appeals in the world.
We are worried that international aid groups and donors are forgetting us here in Mali. We know the situation is bad in other places of the world as well, but this conflict has left us with nothing. Our people are struggling to rebuild their homes and their lives. We need your help.
Community leaders in Timbuktu speaking with NRC Secretary General Jan Egeland on his visit in 2014.
People we helped in Burkina Faso and Mali in 2015
NRC in Mali
From our four field offices in Mali, NRC strives to meet the basic needs of people affected by violence and displacement.
We provide education, shelter, food security, and give people legal assistance. Since 2016, we also have a dedicated emergency response mechanism.
In Mali, we have offices in Gao, Timbuktu, Mopti, and Kidal.
We work together with local communities and education authorities to provide education to children and youth affected by displacement and conflict.
Our education activities:
- Aim to increase children and youth's access to quality education.
- Provide accelerated education programmes for out-of-school children and vocational training for vulnerable youth.
- Support the formal education system through teacher training and school kit distribution.
- Support community-based learning in areas where no schools are functional.
- Construct and renovate schools and classrooms.
We support people affected by conflict with food assistance.
Through our food security activities, we:
- Distribute food in collaboration with the World Food Programme (WFP) to people experiencing severe food insecurity in the north.
- Distribute food vouchers to families facing food shortage.
- Prevent infants and pregnant women from becoming malnourished.
- Support vulnerable households with training and financing to start income-generating activities.
- Contribute to strengthening the local economy.
We support the construction and renovation of vulnerable people's homes and help restore schools destroyed by the conflict.
Through our shelter activities, we:
- Give financial support to vulnerable households for the construction and renovation of their houses.
- Give training sessions in construction and renovation techniques.
- Build and restore public infrastructure.
Information, Counselling and Legal Assistance (ICLA)
We provide legal assistance to conflict-affected people through our services in three regions in central and northern Mali. By using mobile teams, we also extend our assistance beyond these areas.
Our ICLA activities aim to:
- Help people affected by conflict acquire civil documentation, such as identity cards and birth certificates.
- Give training to local authorities on the needs and rights of internally displaced people (IDPs).
- Help IDPs and returnees access their property rights by assisting those who have lost their documentation or whose claims to land are contested.
We manage a rapid response mechanism funded by the EU Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO). This mechanism is equipped to assist newly displaced families in northern Mali with emergency water, food and shelter within a week of crisis, whether due to conflict or natural disaster.
NRC Mali is also running shelter and education programmes for Malian refugees in Burkina Faso.
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.
Civilians suffering in Mali
The security situation in Mali is making it difficult to reach out to civilians in need. Roads are subject to attacks and improvised explosive devices (IED). “There are large areas in Mali that we are struggling to reach,” says Country Director Muriel Tschopp.