16 million

Mali is one of the hottest places on Earth, with land stretching far into the Sahara desert.

Most people live in the south, but there are still many nomadic groups in the northern deserts. An ethnically diverse population, Malians are known for their colourful robes, virtuosic music culture and strong storytelling traditions.

Four out of five people rely on farming for a living, despite most of the country having very little rain and frequent droughts. Half live in poverty, and finding water is a constant concern. This has improved in recent years – three in four people now have clean water – but only three in ten people have a decent toilet.

The Government has committed to provide everyone in Mali with these essentials by 2030. Without them, people can’t live dignified, healthy lives. With them, they can unlock their potential, break free from poverty, and change their lives for good.

We have the commitment, experience, resourcefulness and connections to help achieve this. For example, we share innovative, low-cost technologies with nomadic groups, resolve conflicts around water use, and promote good hygiene through art and traditional storytelling.

With recent political unrest and irregular rainfall, the solutions we choose need to fit with wider plans to tackle these complex issues. By partnering with others, we put clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene at the heart of improvements in education, health, environment and food security.

In Mali’s fragile environment, stable, long-lasting services are vital. We are working with our partners and local people to build their skills so they can keep facilities working, day after day, whatever the changing climate brings. Together we can achieve our goal within a generation.

people don't have clean water.

Almost a quarter of the population.

people don't have a decent toilet.

That's 69% of people in Mali.

children under 5 die a year from diarrhoea.

Caused by dirty water and poor toilets.

A school's first time with taps

Now we drink clean water without worry and we don't queue or waste time for the toilet.
Sougalo, Head of the AMALDEME Centre, Bamako

The AMALDEME medical educational centre in Lafiabougou, Bamako District, offers therapy, education and training for up to 600 children with learning difficulties.

The centre’s water tower was old and cracked, and the supply polluted, forcing staff to buy water using precious funds. Only three of the 30 toilets were usable, so children had to use pots outside.

Working together, we fixed the tower and installed handwashing basins, fitted taps and got the toilets working again. “Now we drink clean water without worry and we don't queue or waste time for the toilet,” said Sougalo Traore, who runs the centre.

Children with learning difficulties can often feel stressed. Sougalo told us that his students feel calmer with the new facilities. Most of the children didn’t know what a tap was – now they are a normal part of life.

Diallo Assita, who is in charge of the school here, told us how these changes mean the centre can better help the children learn, integrate socially and prepare for adult life. “I can't say how great and useful the support received is," says Diallo. "It pleased us so much. Water is life and happiness."