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people in Mali don't have access to safe water. Over a third of the population.

Over 11 million people don't have access to adequate sanitation in Mali, 78% of the population.

Over 15,000 children die every year from diarrhoea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation in Mali.

Mali is a large, landlocked country in Western Africa, two thirds of which is desert. Despite exporting cotton and other resources across Africa and beyond, the country is one of the world's poorest.

The crisis

Irregular rainfall and political instability have left as many as 4.9 million people lacking safe water. According to official statistics, half the population has safe water, but many hand pumps are broken, leaving people no choice but to collect dirty water. Some estimates of safe water coverage are as low as 27%.

The sanitation situation is even worse. Over 11 million people don't have access to a proper toilet – 78% of the population. Coupled with poor hygiene, this crisis kills over 15,000 children die every year. One child in five dies before the age of five.

Work is hard to find and many people lack a basic education. Even when employment opportunities are available, in agriculture or fishing, there is little time to work or study after walking long distances for water.

Our approach

WaterAid has been working in Mali since 2000. Over the last decade, we have worked with local partners and decision-makers to help more than 205,000 people access safe water and reached more than 208,000 people with sanitation.

We support communities in urban areas to construct communal tap stands and carry out repairs where necessary. In rural areas, villages are taught how to deepen and protect their hand-dug wells against contamination.

We also continue to raise awareness of the vital importance of good hygiene and toilets. We work with women and marginalised groups in particular to ensure our efforts benefit those most in need.

Our impact

In Mali last year we reached:

  • 37,000 people with safe water
  • 49,000 people with improved sanitation.