Situated in the heart of West Africa, Mali is a Sahelian country that shares borders with seven other African countries. Recent estimates indicate that if annual population growths continues unabated at 3.6 percent, Mali’s population under the age of 25 will double. As it happens, the country’s population is unevenly distributed throughout the national territory, as 77.5 percent of people live in disparate rural areas. Roughly 73 percent of people in rural areas and 63 percent of the population overall live in poverty. Compounding matters, an armed conflict and instability emanating from the North, have, since 2012, brought about a humanitarian crisis in the country and an influx of refugees into neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.

source(s): UNESCO Institute for Statistics - Current as of July 2016; UNESCO EFA GLOBAL MONITORING REPORT 2013/14

Main Barriers to Education

  • Gender Discrimination
  • Lack of Schools & Trained Teachers
  • Political Unrest

Interventions to Barriers

  • School Renovation and Construction
  • Accelerated-Learning Programmes
  • Teacher Training

In spite of a Malian government amenable to education serving as the driver of the country’s development aspirations, the education sector paid a heavy price as a result of the aforementioned 2012 political and security crisis. As of 2014, Mali occupied the 176th ranking in the UN Human Development Index and OOSC prevalence relative to its population is of the highest in the world. Yet the government has held fast to the vision, elaborated in its Ten-Year Education Sector Plan, that ‘all Malian children will complete a quality primary education cycle and that the education sector will provide the country with the human resources necessary for its development’.

Of the issues confronting Mali’s education sector, poverty, child labour, harsh environmental conditions, political unrest and gender discrimination figure prominently. In addition, nomadic populations, the perceived irrelevance of education, and severe shortages of schools and trained teachers, particularly in rural areas, create formidable access barriers.

To breakdown such barriers, EAC has partnered with buildOn, Education Development Center (EDC) Handicap International, Plan and UNICEF. Specific project interventions include: parental engagement through outreach and training; the construction of 112 new schools; mobile schools for nomadic/migrating populations; accelerated-learning programmes through the Speed Schools model; teacher training; and capacity-building initiatives to improve education governance.

Geographic Location: West Africa

Languages: French (official), Bambara, Bobo, Dogon, Malinke, Minianka, Peul, Senoufo, Soninke, Sonrhai, Tamacheq

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Primary (School) Access through Speed Schools + (PASS+) Project

Through the PASS+ project, Plan International, in partnership with The Strômme Foundation, will increase the quality and supply of formal primary education and non-formal accelerated-learning programmes (Speed Schools) by focusing on community mobilisation, capacity development of stakeholders and improved education governance.

Programme d'accès à l'éducation pour tous les enfants au Mali/Access to Education for All Children in Mali (PACETEM)

EAC and the Education Development Center (EDC) have come together to reach 596,597 out of school children with quality primary education across Mali.

Remote Rural Schools Construction

The Remote Rural Schools Construction project aims to inspire, partner with, and train more than 78,000 parents in rural and isolated villages in past (buildOn) and future project locations to be active participants in improving the quality of, and access to, education for 43,056 OOSC and 117,264 children at-risk of dropping out of primary school.
Towards a Universal Access for Vulnerable Girls and Boys to a Quality Primary Education

Towards a Universal Access for Vulnerable Girls and Boys to a Quality Primary Education

Successfully Completed Project

In developing countries, disability tends to be linked with poverty and hinders access to education. It is estimated that 90 per cent of children with disabilities (CwDs) are not schooled. According to UNICEF reporting being identified as disabled has a significant influence on the likelihood of education exclusion in West and Central Africa.


Agence Française de Développement (co-Financing Partner)

Agence Française de Développement (AFD) is the official development assistance coordinator for France’s bilateral aid. Its aim is to contribute to more sustainable and shared economic growth, improve living conditions in the poorest regions and countries of the world, help preserve the planet and stabilise fragile or post-conflict countries.


For more than two decades, buildOn has partnered with local governments and mobilized rural villages in some of the poorest countries on the planet to build more than 618 schools in Haiti, Malawi, Mali, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Senegal. In February 2014, they broke ground on their first school in Burkina Faso.

Education Development Center

EAC and the Education Development Center (EDC) have come together to reach 596,597 out of school children with quality primary education across Mali.

Humanity & Inclusion

In partnership with EAC, Humanity & Inclusion, formerly known as Handicap International, aims to reach more than 28,000 out of school children (OOSC) of primary age with disabilities across ten sub-Saharan African countries.

Plan International

Plan International has been working in sub-Saharan Africa since the 1970s, helping poor children to realise their right to health, education, food security and protection. EAC has partnered with Plan to ensure that hundreds of thousands of primary-school age children access quality education in Ghana and Uganda. Furthermore, EAC and Plan have collaborated to expand access to Speed Schools in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. Through separate initiatives, EAC and Plan aim to reach 331,000 out of school children (OOSC) in Ghana, Uganda, and Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.