In January 2012, the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) occupied part of northern Mali. Several Islamist movements also made headway in the region. Two months later, the president was overthrown. The country was then plunged into an armed conflict that led to the intervention of the Malian and French armed forces in January 2013.
The fighting and presence of armed groups lead to the proliferation of small arms and the contamination of people’s homes by explosive remnants of war. In 2012, more than half of civilian victims of explosive remnants of war in Mali were children.
Hundreds of thousands of people have taken refuge in neighbouring countries. More than 280,000 Malians fled to the south and centre of the country, where host communities were still suffering from the impact of the devastating food crisis of 2011.
The humanitarian situation remains precarious. Institutions (health, education, public administration and so on) have been seriously impacted and the return of refugees and displaced people to their homes is continuing under difficult conditions.
The country is extremely poor. Mali's efforts to achieve universal primary education, control Humanity & InclusionV/AIDS and improve access to safe drinking water have been severely hampered.
People with disabilities are excluded and often victims of discrimination or prejudice. They represent the largest minority in the country. They have little or no access to health care, education, social services or employment. A very small proportion of children with disabilities attend school. In addition, in these times of crisis, these already very poor people are more vulnerable than before.