UNICEF scales up efforts to get children back to their books in Mali

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A student writes on a chalkboard at a school in Bamako, Mali. [Photo: UNICEF/Tanya Bindra]

The United Nations children's agency (UNICEF) is scaling up efforts to assist half a million children in Mali whose lives were disrupted by conflict, flooding and a nutrition crisis, to get back to their books.

Mali was plunged into a crisis when soldiers overthrew the elected government in March last year and rebel armed groups took control of the northern part of the country.

UNICEF says about 200 schools were closed, destroyed, looted and in some places contaminated with unexploded ordnance in the aftermath of the rebel take over in the north in January 2012.

Marixie Mercado is UNICEF spokesperson in Geneva.

"As schools in the north slowly reopened earlier this year, classrooms in Gao and Timbuktu were packed with students in many cases sitting on the floor because there was no furniture, while in Kidal schools remain closed. In the south, already overcrowded classrooms have seen an influx of about 75,000 displaced students. UNICEF and partners have already delivered learning materials for over 90,000 students." (22")

Marixie Mercado says that during the coming year, 9,000 teachers will receive training.

She adds that temporary learning spaces are being set up while schools will be refurbished and repaired.

Derrick Mbatha, United Nations.

Duration: 1’26″

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