By Fousseni Koné - Emergency Communications Officer (Intern)
Since 2013, Mali has become the target of armed groups who have seized certain localities in the country. Although regional and international military forces have been deployed to restore security and prevent terrorist attacks, families in conflict zones have been forced to seek refuge far from their homes awaiting peace to be restored.
The insecurity has led hundreds of people to take refuge in the outskirts of Bamako, Mali's economic capital, where they most of the times face difficulties such as food insecurity. This is the reality for mothers like Adja Diallo.
Mrs. Diallo (45 years old), a mother of two little girls, fled northern Mali three years ago with her family. She was kind enough to share with us what she has experienced since arriving in the capital. During our interviews, she revealed to us how displacement had a negative impact on her life, as well as those of her children.
“It has been three years since I fled the village of Boni with my daughters to take refuge here in the capital. The armed groups who took everything from us chased us away from our homes. We arrived here by bus”, she narrates. “When we arrived, the authorities accommodated us at a site for displaced people. Unfortunately, this initial site became the scene of a fire one day. As a result, we had nowhere to go, so someone has been kind enough to accommodate us on a piece of land that he had bought years ago."
Although this act of kindness from the land owner provided huge relief, displaced families like Adja's were still in dire need of food support.
“It is a very sad experience for us because we live here without any income-generating activity. When we have left [our] home to find ourselves in such a situation, children become the most vulnerable persons because sometimes we do not have adequate food and sanitation for them", she shares.
Witnessing the living conditions of families like hers prompted the support of World Vision and the World Food Programme (WFP), through the distribution of food and non-food items (NFIs). Through their partnership, World Vision and WFP have helped alleviate the suffering of internally displaced persons, providing them food assistance twice in one year from November 2020 to September 2021.
“They saved us with food", shares Adja. "This aid enabled families to have sufficient food to eat during the previous year. Today, I can even say that WFP and World Vision were the first NGOs to support us with food and NFIs. We are eternally grateful to them because our hunger is diminished.”
The two food distributions, which reached 279 households or 1,674 persons, were fully funded by the Republic of Brazil; each beneficiary receiving a food ration of a value of 72,000 CFA (129 US dollars).
For Adja, this has been an important, life-saving support for displaced families during the past year. “We had suffered too much here in the capital before we began to receive the support. There were days when our children only ate once in the day. Thanks to WFP, World Vision, and other partners, my two daughters have enough to eat and are saved from food insecurity”, she testifies.
The icing on the cake for Adja is that the presence of humanitarian delegations who visited the site helped her to gain self-confidence as she tells her story.
“I was very happy to see all these people attending the distributions. It is meaningful for us as displaced people. This is sufficient proof of how humanitarian organisations can bring hope to people who have lost hope in life due to insecurity. I want the conflict to end as soon as possible so that I can go back to my village", she concludes.