Over the last 20 years, Mali’s population has nearly doubled, rising from 11 million in 2000 to almost 20 million in 2019. Forty per cent of the population is aged between 15 and 40, and in rural areas, youth unemployment rates are extremely high, presenting a clear threat to social cohesion and food security within those communities. The large youth population lacks the education and employment opportunities needed to pull themselves out of poverty.
Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) can play an essential role in equipping (young) men and women with the necessary skills to enter the world of work and improving their employability and entrepreneurial mindsets. However, TVET is not always connected to the needs to the labour market and is also impacted by external factors such as poor markets, limited job opportunities, conflict, climate change, and high rates of migration.
Insecurity in the Mopti and Gao regions has particularly affected access to education. In the Mopti region, nearly a third of all schools are now closed due to insecurity, compromising the right to education. In June 2017, at least 500 schools had to be closed in central and northern Mali owing to insecurity and the influence of extremist groups, which are strongly opposed to formal education, and at least 150,000 children are still out of school as a result.
In the second half of 2013, at least 77 children in the towns of Tessalit, Kidal, Timbuktu and Gao were injured by explosives abandoned during military clashes, sometimes in schools.
It still remains unclear how conflict affects TVET in the region, but this is something the project will seek to uncover.