The Sahel region faces a complex crisis, resulting from a number of reasons. The armed conflict in Northern Mali developed against the backdrop of a large-scale food security crisis.  In addition to the food and nutritional crisis are several geopolitical crises, notably regarding the status of northern Mali, terrorism and proliferation of armed groups and intra community conflicts.

As a consequence, since the conflict started in January 2012, more than 500,000 Malians have fled their homes to southern Mali and border countries. Despite the intervention ofinternational forces in January 2013, the signing of cease-fire agreements in May 2014 and of Algiers Agreements in June 2015, the security situation remains volatile and humanitarian space is fragile.This situation exacerbates structural problems, but also creates new challenges for the protection of human rights: deprivation of life, abuse of power, recruitment of child soldiers, gender-based violence, violations of children’s rights and attacks on humanitarian aid workers.

According to the Harmonized Framework Report from November 2015, 2.55 million people are in a situation of food insecurity in Mali and 12% of the population suffers from Global Acute Malnutrition, exceeding emergency threshold (SMART Survey on malnutrition, May 2015). Drought, food insecurity, limited access to land and grazing areas, access to water and cross border migration movements are the source of strong intra- and inter-communities tensions. These tensions cause many conflicts, including armed conflicts, and contribute to increase trade and use of weapons in the area.

Thus, the resilience of host communities has been largely compromised and conditions are still not favourable for a safe and durable return of refugees and internally displaced people. According to UNHCR, more than 36,000 IDPs and approximately 134,000 refugees have not yet returned.

Snapshot of main DRC activities

  • Protection monitoring, community protection and reinforcement of early warning systems to handle protection issues.
  • Child protection and social cohesion programmes.
  • Strengthening of partners and communities’ capacities in terms of protection.
  • Income generation with women and youth economic groups as well as small and medium sized enterprises, business training, saving groups.
  • Food assistance, training and capacity development.
  • Technical support to the National Institution in charge of food security in Mali (Commissariat à la Sécurité Alimentaire and the Early Warning System) 

When, where and how many?

  • DRC has been present in Mali since the beginning of 2013.
  • DRC targeted areas in Mali are the regions of Gao, Timbuktu and Mopti.

Partners and Donors

Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA)

World Food Programme (WFP)

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)

The US Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The European Commission