In Mali, regional fund helps provide access to health and education for communities recovering from conflict

The new school at Tidinbawene. Photo: OCHA

Mali | 2024 | Regional Fund

Mali, Tidinbawene. “Seeing my son go to school every morning is a privilege I never thought possible,” says Ahmed.

In Mali, over half of a million school-aged children do not have access to education because increasing insecurity has led to the closure of more than 1,700 schools.

With support from the Regional Fund for West and Central Africa, the school in Tidinbawene reopened in 2023, giving Ahmed’s son and other children a chance to get back to school.

Two Malian NGOs, AMSS and FEDE, repaired the school, trained teachers and ensured students received the supplies they needed. The project also stocked up school canteens to ensure hunger was not an obstacle to learning.

“Education has returned with new strength, thanks to this intervention,” said proud father Ahmed.

“Returning to my classroom was an indescribable experience,” adds Lalla, one of the teachers. “These rooms, once deserted, are filled again with the laughter of children.”

Elsewhere in Mali, the Regional Fund supported healthcare and nutrition interventions that also helped children get back to school.

The commune of Koro faces some of the highest levels of humanitarian need in the country. Many women lack access to specialized healthcare.

Teachers noticed children were missing school due to illness. “When children are sick, they skip school. We often helplessly observe the absenteeism,” explains a teacher in Koro.

With funding from the Regional Fund, ACTED’s project aims to increase access to maternal health and nutrition support in the commune. The project supported six health centres, providing free care and deploying a mobile clinic for people in rural areas.

“So, now we can take the children to the health centre to get help when they don’t feel well,” the teacher explains.

Access to health care has also been very important for pregnant women and new mothers.

“Without this free service, I would have had to stay home with no prenatal check-ups – like my previous pregnancies – because we can’t afford it,” explained one expectant mother.

“I am really happy to have been assisted by the project – and without paying medical fees. I hope you can continue to help us with initiatives like this. We notice that a lot of people need it,” she added.

More information on the Regional Humanitarian Fund.

Humanitarian overview from UNICEF Mali Story