You are here

CRS in Mali

Among the 25 poorest countries in the world, Mali is a landlocked country that depends on gold mining and agriculture for revenue. Mali has invested in tourism, but security issues hurt the industry. Mali has high population growth and more than a third of the population lives below the poverty line. More than half of the population lives on $1.25 a day.  Mali is also a very young country with the median age being 16. 

Only one in four Malian adults can read and write, almost half the population does not have access to safe water, and a reported 75% of deaths are caused by communicable diseases, maternal and perinatal complications, and poor nutrition. Mali also faces recurrent challenges, including droughts, floods and violent conflict.

CRS’ work in Mali centers around economic recovery and training community members on better agricultural, ecological and nutrition practices. 


People served: 981,039

Population: 16,455,903 (July 2014 est.)

Size: 478,841 sq. mi.; slightly less than twice the size of Texas

CRS' History in Mali

Since 1999, CRS Mali has run development programs that build resilience in rural areas. After rebel incursions in northern Mali in late 2011, CRS began serving displaced persons with emergency assistance. In March 2012, a coup and rebel occupation caused massive population displacement toward the south. This was preceded by drought in 2011, and followed by large-scale flooding in 2012. In 2013, the Malian government, with Economic Community Of West African States, United Nations and donor support, retook the north, though sporadic attacks continue. The reopening of the north and democratic presidential elections in August 2013 ushered in new possibilities for disaster recovery, rebuilding, and development.

CRS provides assistance for Mali’s internally displaced people with cash transfers to support the local economy and allow people to purchase the goods they need. 

We respond to Mali’s food crisis by training community members on better agricultural, ecological and nutrition practices. We also help people produce food better and access it easier. We have connected farmers to markets and work with savings groups to improve incomes. 

We are promoting students’ health and well-being so they can learn more in school. Our program provides school meals, take-home rations for girls and nomadic children, nutritional supplements and health training. We are reducing tuberculosis-related morbidity and mortality through better prevention, treatment and partnerships.