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Ask of Me, and I will make the nations your inheritance. (Ps 2:8)


Pain & Desperation In Mali

Dr. Claudia R. Wintoch & UN Humanitarian Affairs

30 August 2007


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Dr. Claudia R. Wintoch is
part of two apostolic networks:

My last few weeks in the US have been absolutely amazing. As I walk at my big Daddy's hand, He is leading me to all these people He gives me favor with and constantly blows my mind. Check my blog for more details, or look forward to my next e-newsletter where I'll share more about it.



We're moving in October, and still need $49,000 to complete the house to move into (plus $35,000 for the solar system). Please mark your donation with "construction Mali".

While my heart is so full and overwhelmed by the goodness of God - and there is so much to share with you - my heart is also broken at the news coming out of Mali, and I'm compelled to not keep you ignorant, but to ask you to rise up and pray with me.

Though most of this is not news to me, I could not help but start weeping as I read this report. Hopelessness and despair is the only future for girls in Mali. But I know ONE who loves them and wants to give them a hope and a future. I'm compelled to make this marvelous Father known to them, and wished there was 10 or 100 or 1000 Claudias (thank God He will send others to join us in the future).

The second report talks about the flooding going on in Mali right now, and it's only one of several countries in West Africa where this catastrophe is taking place. My heart breaks and longs to find these people who have but their lives left, to comfort them, feed them, and show them the way to the Father. Who will go to these forgotten ones?

I cannot wait for the day our center is built, our team has grown, and our finances have increased, so that we can go to the poorest of the poor and love on those He has a special love for.

Read the following reports with an open heart, and allow Him to reveal His heart to yours.

Ravished by His love,


MALI: Child Marriage A Neglected Problem

NIORO DU SAHEL, 30 August 2007 (IRIN) - Two years ago, in the western Malian village of Korera-Kore, a 13-year-old girl was forced into marriage during her school summer holiday. She died after complications during sex on her wedding night.

This young Malian, whose case was documented by a local organisation called the Coordination of Women's Associations and Non-governmental organisations (CAFO), is one of more than 60 million women globally who were married or in union before the age of 18, according to estimates by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF).

Campaigners say forced early marriage, or child marriage, is a problem that has been largely untouched by the international community. In Mali it is considered by the research organisation Population Council as "one of the most severe crises of child marriage in the world today"; the few workers in this field say progress is too slow.

"There hasn't been a really concerted effort to address the issue [at the international level]," said Naana Otoo-Oyortey, a founding member of the Forum on Marriage and the Rights of Women and Girls, a network of mostly UK-based organisations who campaign against early marriage and violence against women. "It's been a neglected issue."

Otoo-Oyortey said unlike female genital mutilation/cutting, which is prohibited in many international conventions, child marriage receives little visibility and little funding from donors for programmes to reduce the practice, despite its link to increased rates of maternal mortality, fistula and HIV/AIDS.

Slow Decline

In Mali, according to the latest statistics from the 2001 Demographic and Health Survey, 65 percent of women aged 20-24 were married by the age of 18, one of the highest rates in the world. Nationwide, 25 percent of girls were married by the age of 15, and one in 10 married girls aged 15-19 gave birth before age 15.

While this marks a decrease since 1987, when 79 percent of Malian women married as children, advocates say the numbers are not dropping fast enough, largely because not enough people are working on the subject.

"The global trend has been a slow decline," said Nassra Abass, a consultant in UNICEF's child protection section in New York. "[But] there's definitely a lot more that we can do."

She said UNICEF's focus has been on reducing female genital cutting (FGC), a movement that has "momentum", unlike child marriage, honour killings and other traditional practices considered harmful by the UN.

"There have not been very many resources or much time invested in early marriage. There aren't many programmes running. That's why the decline is slow," Abass told IRIN.


The mild decline in early marriage in Mali has been attributed to the few education and awareness raising programmes that do exist.

In the western Malian region of Kayes, where 83 percent of girls are married by the age of 18, particular effort has been paid to informing people of the risks of early marriage.

According to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), girls aged 15-19 are twice as likely to die during pregnancy or childbirth as women aged 20-24. Among girls aged 10-14, the risk is five times greater. Early onset of sexual activity has also been linked to increased risk of HIV/AIDS because child brides are less likely to be educated and more likely to have unprotected sex with older men who have had more sexual partners.

New research by CAFO of Nioro du Sahel, one of Kayes's largest cities, showed that in Kayes, between 2005 and May 2007, at least 10 girls - many not yet teenagers - lost their lives because of complications after their wedding nights, sometimes due to haemorrhaging after forced intercourse.


[...] "We were ignorant. We married girls at 9, 10, 11 or 12 years old. Now, we've seen the reality. We will no longer practice this," Diawara Mamadou, head of the town of Gogui and one of 12 community representatives present at the workshop, told IRIN. [...]

"[In Mali], we are the only ones interested in this problem," said Fabienne Dubey, assistant programme officer for education at UNICEF-Mali. "I don't know of other organisations working on this. It is still very rudimentary." [...]

Legal framework

[...] A government bill that would, among other things, raise the legal age of marriage to 18 has been on the books for five years, but has yet to be passed.

[...] The Malian government does consider child marriage a form of violence against women, and "there is a whole policy to fight against violence done to women," according to Kanté Dandara Touré, national director for the promotion of women at the Ministry for the Promotion of Women, Children and Family.

[...] "It's a question of priorities," and right now "female genital cutting is at the top," Touré said, noting that more than 90 percent of Malian women are circumcised. [...]

© IRIN. All rights reserved. More humanitarian news and analysis: http://www.irinnews.org

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MALI: Thousands of Flood Victims Stranded

DAKAR, 20 August 2007 (IRIN) - Malian authorities are scrambling to find alternative shelter for thousands of people who lost their homes in recent floods across the country, more than half of whom are currently living in school buildings.

"It's an aspect [of the crisis] that does not attract people's attention but it's a problem all the same," said Idrissa Traoré, chief of operations for the Malian Red Cross.

Since the beginning of July, flooding has swept right across Mali - from the western region of Kayes along the border with Senegal to the central regions of Ségou and Mopti, destroying hundreds of homes and killing up to 15 people according to the Malian government.

More than 32,000 people have been made homeless, according to the head of Mali's civil protection service, Col. Mamadou Traoré.

"The problem now is where to put the 15-18,000 people who are in schools," Traoré told IRIN on 17 August from the hardest hit region, Ségou, where he met United Nations officials who distributed food, water purification tablets, blankets and clothes in the town of Bla. Schools in Mali are supposed to reopen on 15 September

Traoré said the government wants to move the people out of the schools into tents. "The need is real," he said, adding that the tents will be especially important if the rains continue. [...]

ha/nr [END]
© IRIN. All rights reserved. More humanitarian news and analysis: http://www.irinnews.org