A desperate and largely unknown humanitarian crisis is deteriorating in the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, forcing millions of people to flee their homes and leaving millions more in need of humanitarian assistance. Oxfam is providing life-saving support but help is urgently needed to prevent the crisis turning into a catastrophe.
Mali has suffered a series of crises in recent years. The country has experienced chronic food shortages and a particularly severe shock in 2012. Violence plagues the north, which Islamist militants seized in 2012. Though the government is nominally back in charge, the ongoing low-grade conflict continues to prevent civilians from returning to their homes, is disrupting their livelihoods and the provision of basic services.
Oxfam in Mali
Oxfam is working to support families whose lives have been upended by conflict or drought. We are helping girls and their mothers to become more involved in school. And we are helping Malians to reknit the social fabric which was torn apart by conflict:
- In the north, we are supporting livelihoods and helping communities return to normal by paying villagers to fix up old levees and handing out agricultural kits and cash to help families make it through difficult times. We are also helping struggling households feed themselves in the wake of the food crisis and to diversify and improve their diets. We are supporting herders by building new wells and purchasing cattle for them.
- We are also working to ensure that communities are better prepared for future disasters. We are training families in budget management and malnutrition prevention.
- We are helping women start small businesses and training them in seed production and market gardening. Through our “Girls Can” programme, we are working to ensure girls stay in school into their teens. Too many drop out after primary school, but “Girls Can” offers remedial courses, better materials and gifts for girls who do well.
“I am not among the first in the class, but I am confident; I’m going to take my exam. The programme ‘Girls Can’ is a real success because it helps get rid of the inferiority complexes of girls, who before would go home directly after class. Look at the schoolyard: Today there is a teacher-student football match for all the area schools. The girls and boys worked together to set it up, we’re playing together. In short, we’re doing all the tasks at school together without discrimination.” A student at the Mountougoula School.