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Ladies holding crops in a field


Mali is one of the biggest countries in Africa and home to the ancient city of Timbuktu once a key trading post and centre of Islamic culture. Despite being rich in minerals, Mali is one of the world’s poorest countries, Almost half of the population live on less than $1.90 ($1.40) a day and with an estimated population of almost 18 million people heavily reliant on agriculture. The increasing impact of climate change, greatly affects people and communities causing severe food shortages, particularly in the north.

Mali is rich in mineral resources with potential for economic growth however in rural areas, 90% of the population depend on agriculture for survival. With climate change increasingly impacting upon the community, recurring disasters are hitting these communities hard. Erratic and lower levels of rain, rising temperatures, drought and desertification are becoming an ever greater threat to survival.

With a quarter of families in Mali suffering from moderate to severe food insecurity and ongoing political insecurity following a military coup, many people previously fled the country in search of refuge. Now with increasing numbers of returnees and a largely agricultural economy, families are struggling to meet their basic daily needs.

An Islamic Relief staff member talking to members of a women's group.
Image: An Islamic Relief staff member talking to members of a women's group.

The situation in Mali

Conflict and climate change has had a devastating impact on communities in Mali.

1 in 5

people do not have access to adequate sanitary facilities (WHO/UNICEF, 2015)

1 in 3

children (under the age of five) are stunted (UN World Food Programme, 2017))


of adults cannot read or write (UNESCO, 2017)


of Malian children do not attend secondary school (UNICEF

Islamic Relief in Mali

Islamic Relief has been working in Mali since 1997, helping victims of the country’s civil war recover from the devastation of conflict. We were later one of the first organisations to reach some of the worst affected regions during the 2005 food crisis. Ninety-five tonnes of food was distributed to over 30,000 people in Gourma Rharous as part of our emergency response.

Following our initial relief efforts, our focus has now shifted toward long-term development to reduce the population’s vulnerability to drought. Our current work including funding water (micro dam) rain water harvesting and irrigation systems and offering adaptive agricultural training to provide communities with access to water, livelihoods support and food security. We also run our orphan sponsorship programme which includes food and clothes distributions as well as monthly sponsorship.

Find out more about our life-changing work in Mali here.

Islamic Relief staff member and beneficiaries standing in a dessert.
Image: An Islamic Relief aid worker carrying out a needs assessment.

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