Six years after the armed conflict broke out in northern Mali, and despite the progress made since the signing of the Algiers peace agreement in 2015, the country remains affected by a protracted humanitarian crisis and a deteriorating security situation. In 2017, the insecurity spread from the northern to the central regions and led to significant population movement. Some 59,000 people1 are internally displaced due to conflict and another 133,3002 have sought refuge in neighboring countries. Lack of access to essential services and limited State presence and capacity in the north are driving humanitarian needs. In 2018, an estimated 907,000 people3 will need access to safe water and 165,000 children4 will be at risk of severe acute malnutrition (SAM). The education situation remains complex in conflict-affected areas, especially in the central region of Mopti, where 55 per cent of schools are closed.5 More than 1 million children of primary school age (7 to 12) are out of school and at risk of rights violations.6 Mali is also prone to natural disasters such as flooding and drought. Presidential and legislative elections planned for 2018 may increase social tension and generate additional instability.
UNICEF will support the provision of sustainable essential services to affected communities in Mali by strengthening the link between its development and humanitarian programmes. The Ministry of Health’s integrated management of acute malnutrition programme will be supported through early childhood development and infant and young child feeding activities. Health interventions will address vaccine-preventable diseases through immunization campaigns and the provision of essential medicines. UNICEF will provide safe drinking water at the community level, including to people affected by natural disasters or outbreaks; deliver a full package of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services to health centres and schools; and support nutrition interventions by ensuring that caregivers of acutely malnourished children receive hygiene information and supplies. Affected women and children will receive holistic child protection support, including reintegration services, and UNICEF will reinforce Mali's Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism.7 Education interventions will promote the reopening of schools in insecure areas through community mobilization, community learning centres and the provision of school supplies. As lead agency for the WASH, nutrition and education clusters and the child protection sub-cluster, UNICEF will work with line ministries and civil society to strengthen government capacities for coordination, disaster preparedness and response at national and regional levels.
Results from 2017
As of 31 October 2017, UNICEF had US$9.9 million available against the US$35.2 million appeal (28 per cent funded)8 . Given the large funding gaps and the significant needs, UNICEF also used more than US$5.5 million from its regular resources to support key humanitarian interventions. Insecurity and access constraints in conflict-affected regions continued to hamper the timely implementation and adequate monitoring of interventions. To mitigate this, UNICEF worked in collaboration with line ministries and local non-governmental organizations and employed third-party monitoring for programme interventions. To support SAM management in all 74 health districts, UNICEF provided the Ministry of Health with nutrition supplies,9 anthropometric equipment, essential medicines and trainings for community health workers. In addition, with UNICEF support, 546,961 children were vaccinated against polio. In crisis-affected areas, 103,476 people benefitted from access to safe water and improved infrastructure—such as water points, latrines and hand-washing stations—which contributed to resilience building. Some 44,000 schoolchildren accessed formal and non-formal education. Child protection assistance benefitted 11,283 children, including 10,580 children (5,328 girls and 5,252 boys) who received psychosocial support in seven child-friendly spaces.
In line with Mali’s inter-agency 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan, UNICEF is requesting US$56,779,000 for 2018-2019 to meet the humanitarian needs of children and women in Mali. Of this, US$36,775,000 is required for 2018. Without sufficient and timely funding, UNICEF will be unable to support the national response to the continuing nutrition crisis and provide life-saving WASH services to communities affected by the conflict. This funding will also be essential to UNICEF's ability to provide critical child protection and education services to the most vulnerable children. Without these services, children will be at increased risk for recruitment into armed groups.