Around 7,000 Malians are gaining a real route out of poverty through an Islamic Relief project due to complete next month.
Poverty is pervasive in the landlocked West African country of Mali. Food security depends upon an unpredictable and harsh climate, in a country wreaked by frequent drought and conflict.
Unsustainable farming practices are worsening the impact of climate change, as water and arable land are increasingly depleted and life-sustaining ecosystems are destroyed.
The Islamic Relief scheme, which began last year, aims to lift families out of extreme poverty in some of the most vulnerable communities in the Cercle of Kati, in Mali’s south-western Koulikoro region. We are focussing on women and children in the project, which sees us working in seven villages in the rural communes of Ouelessebougou and Tiele.
Women and children are often hardest hit by drought and food insecurity. Children are often compelled to drop-out of school in order to help meet the basic needs of their families.
Now, families have a source of food and reliable income, thanks to rainwater harvesting systems such as micro-dams that are enabling them to carry out sustainable agriculture. With Islamic Relief training in new production and management techniques – including those required to adapt to climate change – local people are joining forces to plant trees and to protect their environment.
New water distribution networks in rural maternity centres – combined with solar power supplies previously installed by Islamic Relief – are giving communities access to basic services. With the help of our Islamic micro-credit programme, communities are maintaining these services themselves as they come together in management committees to generate the income required.
The project is funded by Islamic Relief Sweden, through Radiohjalpen. It builds on a raft of projects that we have been delivering since 1998, focussed on helping rural communities to become self-sufficient by reducing the impact of drought and boosting long-term food security.