The volatile and complex humanitarian situation in Mali has resulted in unprecedented levels of internal displacement, deeply affecting the education of children and youth. Since the beginning of the conflict in Mali in 2012, the humanitarian situation has continued to deteriorate, displacing many due to increasing insecurity linked to terrorism and organized crime, and implications of climate change which has affected natural resources to further fuel local conflict.
The 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan estimates that there are 3.2 million of people in need of humanitarian assistance, of which 1.6 are estimated to be children, with 450.000 in need of education in emergencies. These needs continue to rise, with an estimated 553,262 children require education in emergencies assistance in 2020. Despite these striking figures, the education sector received only 15% of the total 32 million USD required to provide life saving education in emergencies assistance in 2019.
Against this backdrop, the Global Education Cluster, UNICEF and the Education Cannot Wait fund undertook a joint mission to Mali from 5-9 May 2019 to assess gaps in cluster coordination and identify areas for support. Specifically, the visit revealed stronger support around capacity development and advocacy. Following the visit, the Global Education Cluster organized a Core Coordination Training for the Mali Cluster and partners to strengthen requisite capacities to coordinate a timely and effective education in emergencies response and develop a comprehensive cluster strategy.
The visit highlighted the need to strengthen advocacy around the worsening attacks on education. The Global Education Cluster produced a video to profile the critical security situation and its affect on the education of thousands of children and youth caught in the midst of Mali’s worsening humanitarian crises; the video has been used by UNICEF and other outlets to advocate for better protecting education from attacks, including at the Education Cannot Wait fund’s Executive Committee meeting.