As 2020 begins, Mali continues to face insecurity that threatens the safety, wellbeing and education of children and adolescents.
A 2019 report by UNICEF describes the situation in Mali. “ Over 451,000 children require emergency education support across the country, with 920 schools closed, including 598 in Mopti region. Mali is also vulnerable to climate change and prone to natural disasters such as flooding and droughts.”
Many children, especially those displaced by the security crisis in the north lack adequate access to food. UNICEF estimates 190,000 children to be at risk of severe acute malnutrition.
The attacks have been located in northern Mali, but the region around Bamako remains stable. However, many displaced by the conflict have fled to Bamako and the surrounding suburbs. From January - April 2019, more than 87,000 Malians fled their homes according to the Norweigian Refugee Council.
Many displaced children have been forced away from their schools. The Teen Peer HIV Education program holds classes every week for teenagers to learn about HIV, sexually transmitted diseases and other topics related to reproductive health. These free classes are especially important for those displaced by conflict who may be unable to attend school.
In 2019, over 1,300 teenagers attended Hope Center Clinic’s Teen Peer HIV Education programs and GAIA Vaccine Foundation aims to increase participation in 2020. A donation of just $15 provides enough food for an entire class of students.
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