Mali: Improving the Status, Education and Future Opportunities of Girls in Rural Regions


Project region: Ségou and Koulikoro

Duration: March 1, 2015 - February 29, 2018

Local partner: GRADEM Mali



In the regions of Ségou and Koulikoro, nearly 50% of children do not attend school. There are no primary schools in 16 of the 58 villages participating in the project. The distance from home to school is up to 12 km long for some children, and school busses or school meals don’t exist. The proportion of girls among all primary students is just about 46,5%. Yet, more than 4% of them stop attending school before receiving any school certificates.

Children, and especially girls without education have few future prospects in the rural regions of Mali. Many of them therefore migrate to bigger cities at a young age and look for jobs in the informal sector as unskilled workers. In 30 of the 58 involved villages, the rate of rural exodus is over 50%, whereas more than 70% of the migrating girls are younger than 15 years old. These girls are unprepared for the life in the cities and often experience economic and sexual violence and exploitation.
This project aims at lowering the rate of rural exodus for girls and at upgrading rural regions by raising public awareness and strengthening the local education opportunities.

Project Objectives


The educational opportunities of 1,000 children as well as chances for an apprenticeship and a regular income of 1,900 girls in disadvantaged rural regions have improved. In particular:

  • The access to primary education has improved in 5 communities.
  • The population of 58 villages actively supports the improvement of the status of girls and their living conditions and is fighting rural exodus.
  • The opportunities for apprenticeships and regular incomes have improved for 1,900 girls in 59 villages.

Target Groups


  • children in primary school age (about 600 girls and 400 boys) from families in need from 5 rural communities
  • 1,900 young girls (13-18 years old), who are willing to leave their hometown
  • their families and social communities
  • 45 school groups (one in each of the 45 involved primary schools)
  • 45 associations of parents and teachers as well as committees of the administrative bodies of schools
  • 58 traditional village executives and other local dignitaries
  • 4 local radio stations (2 per region)
  • central and decentralized departments of the Ministry for Basic Education and academies for primary education
  • the Ministry for Family, Women and Children as well as its regional technical departments

Project Activities


  • Support 1,000 children to gain access to primary education
  • Support the village Oussébougou for constructing a local school
  • Further training for members of associations of parents, teachers and the school/community responsibles
  • Awareness-raising campaigns for the respect of children’s rights and about the importance of basic education, especially for girls
  • Support 1,000 girls from 30 villages with attaining an occupation with regular income as well as the basics of economic thinking and working
  • Support self-help-initiatives of girls in rural regions



Project costs: 399,360 €


Financial Partners:

  • German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
  • Familie-Haas-Stiftung
  • Kinderrechte Afrika e. V. (donations)

Ami's Story:

"My name is Ami, and I'm 17 years old. I came to the city to earn money for my dowry. I work as a domestic worker. I met a boy and went out with him. After a few months I got pregnant, but he refused to accept paternity for the baby. In the eighth month of my pregnancy, my boss sent me away. I didn’t know where to go. An elderly lady found me and took me to her home. A few days later I gave birth to my child. I wanted to give the baby away and wanted to look for work. The lady knew a woman who wanted to adopt my baby. We went to the police station to apply for adoption papers. There, I got captured and led to the vice squad."


The vice squad then brought Ami to the center for the protection of children of GRADEM in Bamako called "Bamunan - Hope and Life". She and her baby received medical treatment and psychosocial care. Looking back, Ami says:


“I had unprotected sex. I had heard of family planning, but never knew what it was. I'm engaged in my village and am ashamed to go back with a child on my back.”


After successful negotiations with Ami's family, she was able to begin an apprenticeship as a tailor and now earns her money as the only tailor in the village.

Cover photo: A girl in a village proudly reports her success in farming. Within the project, she received a jump start for the purchase of chicken and goats. These farming activities secured her income as she let them reproduce and then sold them. Children have the right to an appropriate standard of living, Art. 27 UN-CRC.

© Horst Buchmann / Kinderrechte Afrika e.V.

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