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A landlocked country in West Africa, Mali is one of the five least developed countries in the world. Over 90 percent of Mali’s population lives in the more fertile southern region of the country. The Niger River acts as important trade passage in the south.

  • Population: 14,853,600
  • Life Expectancy: 55 years
  • Access to Safe Water: 65%
  • School Enrollment: 67%
  • Land Mass: 478,840 sq. mi.
  • Literacy Rate: 33%
  • Under Age 5 Mortality Rate: 128/1000
  • Average Annual Income (GNI): 660

Facts about Mali

More than half of Mali’s population lives below the international poverty line of $1.25 per day.

The phenomenon of abandoned children has reached alarming proportions in the major urban areas. Childcare facilities receive an average of 400 children per year.

Abuse and violence against children are the most widespread violations of human rights, especially in the family and at school.

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Progress in Mali

Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors. World Vision was able to work alongside communities to accomplish the following in 2013.

  • Drilled wells to increase access to safe water and promoted personal hygiene and sanitation to reduce the spread of disease.

  • Trained peer educators so they could educate thousands of other students on the prevention and treatment of HIV and AIDS.

  • Educated mothers on the importance of improving child nutrition through appropriate infant feeding practices.

  • Improved schools for children by constructing new classrooms and latrines, and by updating primary school teachers on new, innovative teaching methods.

  • Taught community members and leaders how to develop community disaster preparedness plans.

  • Raised awareness among community leaders, school management committees, and women’s groups on child rights and protection.

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    World Vision in Mali Today

    World Vision is committed to partnering with the people of Mali to improve their lives today and to help enact sustainable solutions for the future of their children, families, and communities. World Vision’s child sponsorship program plays a vital role in this partnership, with donors from the United States sponsoring more than 8,200 girls and boys. In addition to sponsorship, World Vision operates other programs that benefit communities in Mali. Highlights include:

    • Building wells to provide communities access to water.
    • Providing mosquito nets for more than 25,000 households to prevent children and families from contracting malaria.
    • Improving education by training teachers and providing reading materials for schools.

    World Vision History in Mali

    World Vision responded to drought in Mali in 1975, opened an office in 1982, and began sponsorship programs in 1988. Since then, some of World Vision’s major accomplishments have included:

    • Digging freshwater wells to provide a source of clean, safe water in the late 1970s.
    • Providing food to famine survivors and malnourished children during the 1980s.
    • Reducing the high mortality rates of children through immunizations and improved nutrition throughout the 1990s.
    • Developing education and health systems and providing microfinance assistance in the 21st century.

    Geography & People

    Geography and people

    A landlocked country in West Africa, Mali is one of the five least developed countries in the world. Over 90 percent of Mali’s population lives in the more fertile southern region of the country. The Niger River acts as important trade passage in the south.

    Natural resources include gold, phosphates, salt, limestone, gypsum, granite, and hydropower.

    Several ethnic groups live in Mali. The largest group is the Bambara, who make up nearly 40 percent of the population. French is the country’s official language, but over 80 percent of Malians speak Bambara.

    More than 80 percent of Malians work in agriculture, with the majority producing barely enough food to feed their own families. Rural families are large so they will have enough hands to farm. Many girls marry before the age of 18.


    After several years of French rule and a brief unification with Senegal, Mali declared independence in June 1960. The army overthrew the government in a bloodless coup eight years later and started 23 years of military rule.

    In 1991, Amadou Touré removed the dictator and led the peaceful transition to a multi-party democracy. Nomadic Tuareg rebels fought against the government in the early 1990s, accusing the administration of cultural marginalization.

    The Malian government and Tauregs later signed a peace agreement that would start development and anti-poverty programs for the Tauregs. Mali has had several peaceful government elections since the start of the 21st century.

    Prayer Requests for Mali

    • For better irrigation systems to be distributed that will allow farmers to produce more crops and feed more families.
    • For healthcare workers to reach children in remote locations with necessary vaccines.
    • For ample rain so families will be able to grow enough food to eat.
    • That people would have access to important services like healthcare and education.