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

Economic Development

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

Child Protection

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

Child Protection

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 2014.

  • Communities participated in our training sessions where they learned to develop natural disaster mitigation plans.

  • To improve children's reading and writing skills, we implemented the Interactive Radio Instruction (IRI) approach. IRI is a learning system that helps students interact in the classroom with radio characters and participate in activities suggested by the radio program.

  • School management committees have been trained in administrative and financial management in order to support schools and improve the quality of education.

  • To increase production and improve nutrition for families, farmers have been trained in organic manure preparation, drip irrigation, and post-harvest management techniques that ensure crops are dry and pest free.

  • We worked to reduce malnutrition in children by training mothers on exclusive breastfeeding, childhood nutrition, growth monitoring, and the correct management of diarrhea which can dehydrate and endanger little ones.

  • Religious leaders and health educators were trained in HIV and AIDS awareness so they could share information about prevention and treatment and decrease the stigma against people in the community living with AIDS.

  • Demonstrating Christ’s love through our actions, we worked among the children and families of the community to promote peace and justice and encourage understanding.

  • To reduce the number of malaria cases, we distributed mosquito nets to families and taught caregivers about malaria symptoms and treatment.

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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

    • Please pray that the government of Mali would meet its goal of dedicating 15 percent of the national budget to reducing the maternal and child mortality rate.
    • Pray also for a lasting reconciliation between the warring factions in Mali and a safe return for the refugees.