Photo: Ingrid Prestetun/NRC

NRC in Mali

Violence and attacks by armed and radical groups have forced thousands of Malians to flee their homes. NRC strives to meet the needs of those affected.


A total of


people in need received our assistance in 2021.


Humanitarian overview

In 2012, when armed groups took control of Mali's northern regions, more than half a million Malians were displaced from their homes. Roughly 150,000 people fled to neighbouring countries, and hundreds of thousands became displaced inside Mali.

In June 2015, a peace agreement was signed between the two major armed coalitions and the government. Since then, authorities have gradually returned to the north, providing basic services in the largest towns. But many remote areas still lack basic services, like healthcare and education. On top of this, conflicts have increased exponentially in the central regions.

Since the eruption of conflict those who remained have faced violence, poverty and food insecurity, and the number of internally displaced people continues to increase. Over 400,000 people fled their homes in northern and central Mali in 2021 due to intercommunal clashes, a rise in armed groups and military operations. In addition, there are about 50,000 refugees. Humanitarian needs are staggering. The UN estimates that over 5.9 million people needed assistance in 2021.

  • 30,965
    people benefited from our education programme
  • 101,786
    people benefited from our food security programme
  • 122,043
    people benefited from our shelter programme
  • 34,019
    people benefited from our ICLA programme
  • 56,866
    people benefited from our WASH programme


NRC's operation

We strive to provide lifesaving short-term and long-term aid to displaced people in Mali, as well as the most vulnerable among those who remain.

We advocate for the international community to increase engagement in Mali, focusing not only on security, but also on humanitarian access and the needs of those affected by displacement.

NRC EducationEducation

In 2021, more than 1,632 schools were closed and about 490,000 children were deprived of their education in Mali. We work together with local communities, parents and education authorities to provide quality education to children and youth affected by displacement and conflict. Our education teams:

  • provide catch-up classes for out-of-school children, giving them an opportunity to jump back into the formal education system
  • support community-based learning in areas where no schools are functional
  • provide vocational training for vulnerable youth, so that they can earn a living
  • support the formal education system through teacher training and distribution of school materials

NRC Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)

We provide legal assistance to conflict-affected people through our services in central and northern Mali. By using mobile teams, we also extend our assistance beyond these areas. We:

  • help people to acquire civil documentation, such as identity cards and birth certificates, so that adults can access basic services, and children can be enrolled in schools
  • give training to local authorities on the needs and rights of internally displaced people
  • help internally displaced people and returnees to access their land and property rights by assisting those who have lost their documentation or whose claims to land are contested

NRC Livelihoods and food securityLivelihoods and food security

In the regions most affected by displacement and food insecurity, our teams:

  • build stores in vulnerable communities and supply them with grain
  • help people earn a living and rebuild their future through income-generating opportunities like community gardens, village savings and loan associations

NRC Shelter and settlementsShelter and settlements

Our shelter teams:

  • provide emergency assistance to people affected by displacement by handing out essential household items like blankets, mosquito nets, kitchen sets, clothes and soap
  • provide housing to IDPs and most vulnerable people from host communities

Our shelter activities also go hand in hand with our education activities. We construct and rehabilitate schools, classrooms and latrines in areas where we have education activities to make sure that children have a friendly and safe learning environment.

Humanitarian mediation and protection

Conflicts between communities have contributed to the humanitarian crisis in Mali. These conflicts generally stem from small disputes related to land ownership and the sharing of natural resources that have become scarce because of the climatic effects and conflicts limiting the movement of populations in remote areas.

Our humanitarian mediation teams:

  • prevent and resolve conflicts between communities through a neutral restoration of communication between the parties to a conflict
  • hold regular training sessions for local actors involved in conflict resolution
  • ensure regular monitoring of the implementation of action plans drawn up by the parties to a conflict following mediation

We conduct protection rapid evaluations and respond to specific protection needs of most vulnerable people as we support community and community-based organisations. We implement plans for the reduction of protection risks and enabl community protective environment. All these activities, among others, are carried out in order to strengthen the protection of civilians in Mali.

Rapid response mechanism (RRM)

Through RRM, NRC addresses the urgent needs of populations affected by sudden shocks, such as displacement due to violence. Following a multisector rapid assessment to identify needs, NRC distributes immediate relief assistance before regular humanitarian programming takes on the next steps.

About NRC in Mali

International staff
Areas of operation
Bamako (Country Office), Gao, Timbuktu, Mopti and Menaka.
Budget 2021
USD 20 million
National staff


Country Director

Maclean Natugasha


+223 202 107 05