Recurrent natural disasters and severe poverty contribute to chronic malnutrition and hunger in Mali, while civil conflict since 2012 has exacerbated food insecurity and spurred population displacement. To date in 2018, the Government of Mali and the UN estimate that there are approximately 61,400 internally displaced persons within Mali and 138,700 Malian refugees in Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Niger. Overall, nearly 44 percent of the population lives below the national poverty line, according to the World Bank. A mid-2017 countrywide nutrition survey found that almost 11 percent of children were acutely malnourished, with malnutrition levels in Timbuktu and Gao regions exceeding the UN World Health Organization’s critical emergency threshold of 15 percent.
A recent Cadre Harmonisé (CH) analysis projected that approximately 933,000 people in Mali—5 percent of the population—will require emergency food assistance between June and August 2018, the peak of the agropastoral lean season.* Needs have increased since the same period in 2017, when an estimated 601,000 Malians required emergency assistance. Similarly, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) notes that poor households in parts of Gao, Kayes, Koulikoro, Mopti and Timbuktu regions are currently facing a prolonged lean season aggravated by depleted food stocks, elevated staple crop prices, decreased household income and prematurely degraded pasturelands. Vulnerable populations in affected areas are experiencing Stressed (IPC 2) levels of food insecurity through September, and ongoing and planned distributions of humanitarian assistance are likely preventing deterioration to Crisis (IPC 3) levels of acute food insecurity in some zones. FEWS NET anticipates that food access will grow following the end of the lean season as crop and livestock production improves, household purchasing power increases and cereal prices decrease, with households across Mali experiencing Minimal (IPC 1) food insecurity from October–January.
USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (FFP) collaborates with the UN World Food Program (WFP) to respond to the urgent food needs of populations affected by displacement, natural disasters or other shocks in Mali through in-kind or market-based household food distributions. In addition, FFP supports WFP to deliver supplementary nutrition assistance to prevent malnutrition in children and pregnant and lactating women. Through the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), FFP also provides ready-to-use therapeutic food to treat an estimated 35,000 children with severe acute malnutrition.
FFP works with non-governmental organization (NGO) partners to distribute locally and regionally procured food, cash transfers and food vouchers to about 100,000 vulnerable Malians, improving household access to food and spurring market recovery. These NGOs are also working to protect households’ livelihoods and reduce their vulnerability to destabilizing shocks, such as drought.
FFP also partners with NGO CARE to implement a long-term development intervention to benefit approximately 270,000 individuals in Mopti region. The activities aim to strengthen food and nutrition security among poor households and focus on nutrition promotion, livelihood diversification, resilience building, conflict reduction and governance enhancement