© Helvetas


Most people in Mali live off the land. But climatic conditions are adverse, and unemployment is widespread. Helvetas promotes farming methods that enable young people to earn a sustainable livelihood, as well as measures to improve the education system and the supply of clean drinking water.
© Helvetas
  • Capital
  • Area
    1,240,192 km²
  • Poverty rate*
    49% of the population live under the poverty line of $1.90 per day
    Rank: 186 out of 191
  • Population
  • People supported per year
  • Thematic focus
    Voice, Inclusion & Cohesion
    Education and Vocational Skills
    WASH & Water Governance
    Private Sector Development
    Gender & Social Equity
* Source: UN Data

Mali is one of the poorest countries in the world. Unemployment is widespread, especially in rural areas. Helvetas has been active in Mali since 1977. In the past, tens of thousands of farming families improved their lives through a large-scale fair trade program in organic cotton, sesame and peanuts. We are still active in Mali’s agricultural sector and support young people in making a decent livelihood with ecologically sustainable and climate resilient farming methods.

More vocational opportunities for young people

To facilitate the integration of rural youths into the job market and thereby curb the rural exodus, Helvetas seeks to create vocational training opportunities in the countryside. The training is designed to promote economic development and self-employment. We concentrate our efforts on young people who have not completed secondary school and are consequently ineligible for formal vocational training programs. We run an innovative training program in agriculture as the sector holds a vast potential for creating jobs.

Education for all

Even if enrolment figures have gone up in Mali, only half the children in the southern provinces regularly attend school. Girls in particular often leave school after just a few years. Helvetas works closely together with local authorities, private-sector establishments, parents’ associations and teaching staff to improve the quality of primary and vocational education for both sexes. We focus specifically on integrating or reintegrating children and young people who never went to school or left it early.

Cost-effective water supply

More than one-third of the Malian population have no access to clean drinking water and latrines – with all the health problems that entails. Municipalities often lack sanitation expertise and the necessary resources to deal with these public health problems. Helvetas supports selected local administrations in their efforts to acquire the know-how and generate the funds to improve the water supply and sanitation in the long term. We promote innovative and cost-effective solutions, such as solar-powered water pumps.

Visit the website of Helvetas Mali.

The country programme in Mali is co-funded by the SDC programme contribution.

Our Projects in Mali

 If you would like to know more about our work in Mali, click on each project for details.

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Youth need access to reliable, fairly paid jobs to break the cycle of poverty. Helvetas creates partnerships and promotes policies that build more inclusive economies.

Education and Vocational Skills

Lack of education perpetuates inequality because poor countries cannot compete economically without a skilled workforce.

WASH & Water Governance

The most vulnerable communities suffer from dirty and scarce water. Annually we help up to 500,000 people get new access to drinking water and basic sanitation.