Country Programme of Mali

Mali is a country highly exposed to climate change in terms of changing temperatures and precipitation. It has to cope with the risks of events such as droughts, floods and epidemics, which reduce the resilience of the rural population. The Mali country programme 2017-2020 contributes to alleviating poverty and improving food and nutrition security by intervening in two priority areas: food security and markets, climate change and disaster risk reduction.


Facts and Figures:

  • Engagement in the country since: 1972
  • Mean annual no. of beneficiaries: 345 000
  • Main partners: Caritas network, local NGOs, government institutions
  • Main technical and financial partners: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Caritas Luxembourg, Leopold Bachmann Foundation, Medicor

Key achievements:

  • Farmers' organisations are structured and their collective intervention capacities strengthened.
  • Household food security is improved (food needs covered for 10 months out of 12).
  • Income from agricultural production up by 20% thanks to improved agricultural practices and soil restoration.
  • Resilience to the effects of climate change is enhanced through the introduction of adapted seeds, an early warning system, etc.
  • Natural resources are better managed in the municipalities of intervention thanks to local conventions and the application of assisted natural regeneration and erosion control measures.

Why we are here

Mali is one of the poorest countries in the world, with poverty affecting more than half the population. Despite its wealth of natural resources and national agricultural and climate change policies, the country still faces major challenges such as droughts, strong winds, sand storms, floods and epidemics.

Terrorism-related insecurity is recurrent despite the 2015 peace and reconciliation agreement and deployment of peacekeeping and counter-terrorism forces (UNMISMA, Operation Barkhane and G5 Sahel) in Mali.

The Malian economy is based essentially on the agricultural sector (agriculture, fishing, livestock and forestry). Highly dependent on natural resources, the agricultural sector is very vulnerable to climate change. The sector employs about 70% of the working population, which derives little income from this production. The reasons are many: demographic growth, extensive exploitation of natural resources, migratory flows to urban centres and artisanal gold mining sites, illiteracy, etc. As a result, the nutrition and food situation of the population remains a concern, especially for women and children aged 0-5 years.

Caritas Switzerland's programme in Mali supports a range of activities, especially in the south-west and centre of the country covering Mopti, Bamako, Koulikoro, Sikasso and Kayes.The strategy corresponds to both the Sustainable Development Goals and the Strategic Framework for Economic Recovery and Sustainable Development programme.


Fields of Activity

Food Security and Markets

Food consumption and nutritional intakes in Mali are little diversified and stable. People have limited access to food and one third of the population suffers chronic and severe food insecurity. Natural resources have great potential, but their management faces many problems: land conflicts, insufficient hydro-agricultural development, random rainfall, bush fires, insecurity linked to terrorism, etc. To meet these challenges, the Mali country programme 2017-2020 is pursuing the following objectives:

  • Improving integrated management of natural resources and production systems. Small producers/family farms and their organisations, civil society and state actors manage natural resources sustainably and improve access to food and balanced nutrition.
  • Providing support for the development of the market system and value chain. Small producers and family farms ensure quality agricultural production, have competitive market access, improve their incomes and create local jobs. To this end, Caritas Switzerland supports its partners in applying the M4P approach («Making Markets Work for the Poor»).

The acquisition of skills and practical knowledge through non-formal vocational training of producers and family farms is a priority in the implementation of these objectives. Special attention is paid to young people and women.


Video (in French): Improving food security on the Dogon Plateau in Mali


Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction

Mali is adversely affected by rainfall variability and rising temperatures, which cause multiple natural disasters and degradation of natural resources. Rural communities, which constitute 80% of Mali's population, are exposed to the adverse effects of climate change and disasters. That is why the Caritas Switzerland programme aims to reduce disaster risks. The capacities of communities in rural areas and family farms are strengthened to help them avoid and mitigate the impacts of natural and technological hazards and reduce the resulting losses and damage. The key implementation activities include:

  • Strengthening local authorities in terms of planning, in particular by incorporating disaster risk reduction in their economic, social and cultural development programmes.
  • Strengthening early warning systems.
  • Improving access to climate and environmental information.
  • Advocacy activities to initiate changes in behaviour and practices and influence policy.

Humanitarian Aid

Humanitarian aid is not a sector of activity in its own right under the Mali 2017-2020 programme. Caritas Switzerland intervenes as needed on an ad hoc basis and mainly as a complement to the food security sector, in order to combine emergency aid, rehabilitation and development.



  • Programme de pays Mali (brochure, fr)
    File format: pdf / 400 KB
  • Programme de pays Mali : Secteurs d’activité (brochure, fr)
    File format: pdf / 633 KB

Selected project(s)


Contact persons