Mali is one of the poorest countries in the world, with development indicators also among the lowest of any country, according to the United Nations. School enrollment rates are low, and only one-third of adults are literate.
Families’ economic well-being is highly vulnerable to the weather and to regional security situations. Recent years have been rough, as lingering effects of a severe 2011 drought mixed with the onset of new violence, which combined to put many families in hardship. A 2013 assessment found that three-quarters of households in northern regions were moderately or severely food insecure.
Health care is also difficult to attain, and preventable illnesses take a heavy toll on the population. Malaria accounts for half of outpatient health-care visits among children; yet it remains a primary cause of death. Meanwhile, access to clean, safe water is an ongoing challenge, and only one-quarter of the country has access to improved sanitation facilities.
Islamic Relief has been working in Mali since 1997.