Signed on July 15th, 2015, the implementation of the Algiers peace accords faces significant challenges and delays. The difficult installation of the interim authorities in Northern Mali, the proliferation of weapons, the fragmentation of armed groups, the resurgence of activities by radical groups and the frustration of actors excluded from the peace agreement contribute to a stalemate in the security situation and lead to increased criminality in the country. These factors, added to major structural problems, the weak presence of the state in the north and recurring natural disasters (floods and droughts), create a particularly complex and unstable humanitarian context.
FOCUS ON FOOD SECURITY, MALNUTRITION AND PROTECTION
Food security and malnutrition
The crisis has worsened existing vulnerabilities to food insecurity and access to livelihoods among local communities, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and returnees, particularly impacting the poorest households. Agro-pastoral activities, the main source of livelihood for the rural population in Northern Mali, have been severely impacted by the conflict, and have not recovered since. Among other factors, damaged infrastructures prevent households from maintaining food production at sustainable levels. In addition, the country suffers from recurring natural disasters.
According to the Harmonized Framework Report from March 2017, 3.8 million people are in a situation of food insecurity in Mali, 300,000 more than in 2016. While the food security situation did seem to stabilise in early 2015, these new figures suggest that the situation has worsened during the past year. Likewise, five years after the beginning of the crisis in Northern Mali, child malnutrition rates in the Gao (15.2%) and Timbuktu (15.7%) regions remain alarming and still exceed the emergency threshold (Humanitarian Bulletin, OCHA, August – November 2017).
The humanitarian response remains significantly restricted. Indeed, the provision of protection services and specialised case management in Mali remains very weak. Furthermore, the existing structures face enormous challenges due to scarce resources, competencies and the quality of services. The low access to basic social services, the significant militarisation of the country, the lack of human rights awareness as well as the lack of freedom has led to an increase of human rights violations, abuse against children and gender-based violence. The crisis in Mali comes on top of a structural weakness, where harmful socio-cultural practices such as early marriage and female genital mutilation already existed and affected the population. In the first half of 2017, 68% of Gender Based Violence survivors were under 18 years old, and 73% of GBV survivors didn’t have access to adequate case management due to the lack of available services. Minors are enrolled in armed groups on a regular basis, and the vulnerability of the educational system exposes children to further risks.
Where we work
DRC INTERVENTIONS IN MALI
In the Timbuktu region, DRC is implementing a comprehensive food security programme that aims to reinforce the resilience of households and communities by linking relief and development and by tackling structural and long-term issues. The programme is designed around seasonal cash transfers, complemented by individual and community-based activities, such as nutritional screening, training on cultivation techniques and managing cooperative farms for farmer organisations. This programme, funded by ECHO, USAID/Food for Peace and the European Union Trust Fund, is partly implemented through the Alliance for Community Resilience, a consortium of seven international NGOs.
In Mali, DRC implements an ambitious protection programme rooted in the humanitarian development nexus. With funding from DANIDA, DRC provides an emergency response to IDPs and host communities, as well as a more resilience-oriented project funded by SDC. The latter aims at providing direct assistance to victims of human rights violations, strengthening community-based and individual protection knowledge and capacities and participating in the coordination and advocacy efforts at both the regional and national levels. As very little data is available, DRC also conducts assessments in communities and maps the presence of existing partners, services providers and facilities.
Armed Violence Reduction
The Danish Demining Group (DDG) is DRC’s technical unit that specialises in humanitarian demining, mine risk education and armed violence reduction.
In February 2014, DDG initiated a Border Security and Management (BSM) programme in the Sahel to improve border security and management in the Liptako-Gourma region, between Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. DDG is now implementing the second phase of this BSM programme that aims at promoting stability, building resilience and preventing and reducing armed violence by ensuring improved community safety, effective, accountable and responsive border security and management and cross-border collaboration.
Mixed Migration research
Mali is a transit country that faces significant mixed migration flows. During their journeys, migrants and refugees face several vulnerabilities and protection risks, which are documented by the Mixed Migration Mechanism Monitoring Initiative (4Mi), in Mali and in Niger.