Country Progress Report - Mali
The northern third of Mali is located in the Sahara Desert and the
rest of the country within the Sahel. Each year, the Sahara grows
larger, transforming Mali's soil into desert land. This is a major
factor that makes this African nation one of the poorest countries
in the world. Plan's ongoing programmes in Mali help to address the
specific needs of some of the poorest communities in the country.
Growing Up Healthy
Ensuring children's survival, protection and healthy development
Nearly one quarter of all children in Mali die before the age of five. Most die of illnesses that are easily treatable in the UK - malaria, diarrhoea and water-borne diseases. Last year, the communities we work with in Mali continued to make health a priority. Together, we renovated one health centre (serving 8000 children and the communities' health workers treated 1200 children affected by HIV/AIDS. In addition, 31000 children were immunised against measles and 23800 were vaccinated against polio.
Helping children, youth and adults acquire knowledge and skills
A national survey conducted last year revealed that only half of all Malian children between the ages of seven and fourteen attend school, and only about one quarter of those complete primary school. In many villages, the lack of classrooms and teachers affects both the access to primary education and the quality of teaching.
To increase access to education, the Mali government pledged to devote at least 50 per cent of its education budget to primary schools. Plan helped by supporting projects to build 14 new primary schools, train 425 teachers and distribute school supplies to 65000 primary school students.
Building secure, safe and healthy environments for children
Because Mali is hot and dry, one of the major problems is water scarcity. Wells often dry up soon after the rainy season, making it difficult to irrigate crops and generating unsafe drinking water. In order to increase access to water sources, communities initiated water-supply programmes. With the support of Plan field staff, community members dug or repaired more than 65 wells for their farms and schools. More than 4400 people now have access to clean water.
Many people benefited from the projects. "Our village had only three water points - a broken hand pump and two traditional wells," said one community leader. "One of the wells had been improved, but the other one dried up during the dry season." A new large-diameter well was constructed in the village. "It will relieve women from the burden of carrying water over long distances. Another important result is the reduction in infant diseases caused by the use of unsafe water."
Improving children's welfare by increasing family income and food
Community credit-and-savings groups supported by Plan continued to help women finance small businesses. As of last year, 46 groups had been created and 785 women had benefited from loans for income-generating activities. "We are 20 women and each of us has access to credit," said one member. "I'm among 18 women repaying a fifth loan. This project helps me take care of my eight children. So far, everything has worked well because the women trust each other, everyone respects the rules, and there is mutual help in the group."
These and dozens of other projects in Mali were made possible with your assistance. On behalf of all sponsored children, their families and community members, as well as our field staff, thank you for your continued support.
"My students and I contributed to the physical work during the construction of the classrooms," said one headmaster. "More than 180 students will attend the fully equipped classes."
A few more examples illustrating last year's achievements:
This page last updated: 19 July 2004
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