World Vision urges more protection for women, children in Mali

Displacement, sexual violence, attacks on schools and recruitment of children are just some of the horrific situations being faced by the people of Mali.

The land-locked country has been suffering though the same food crisis as vulnerable communities across much of West Africa, but the previously stable nation was also rocked by a coup in March and subsequent seizure of the north by armed opposition groups.

The conflict in the north of Mali has resulted in over 420,000 Malians fleeing into neighbouring countries and into safer parts of the south.

World Vision Humanitarian Protection Adviser Amra Lee has just returned from talking to internally displaced persons and vulnerable host communities in the south of Mali, where some 80 per cent of the humanitarian needs are said to be according to UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Despite having responded to many crises previously, Ms Lee said she was shocked by the scale and extent of the needs.

“Mali is currently experiencing several humanitarian crises: chronic poverty, cyclical droughts and food shortages, which are being compounded by political uncertainty and escalation of conflict in the north,” Ms Lee said. “The result is a very fragile protective environment for women and children in particular, and also for the elderly and those with disabilities remaining in the north.”

Ms Lee said the international community needed to act now to strengthen resilience to prevent negative coping mechanisms and help communities strengthen their protective environment.

“We need to work towards enabling people in Mali – especially women and children – to know their rights and build a more protective environment,” Ms Lee said.

The West African food crisis has also affected 4.6 million people in Mali, over a third of the population.

To donate to the West Africa Food Crisis Appeal call 13 32 40 or go

Media contact: Kate Rose – 0418 528 683 /

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