From VOA News:
The Manu River Women Peace Network, a West Africa-wide association that works to improve living conditions for women, is launching a program in Mali's extreme north, where conflict, hunger and drought are affecting hundreds of thousands.
The desert region of Northern Mali is blighted by conflict, food insecurity and lack of water. Hundreds of thousands of people are suffering from acute hunger in this region that skirts the border with Niger. It is also the site of a long-running conflict between Tuareg rebels and the government.
As part of an effort to aid local women, the Manu River Women Peace Network is launching a program in the regional capital, Kidal.
Dicko Aminata Traoré, the president of the network in Mali, said peace in the region could lead to development, and development could help bring peace.
When the program is launched in September, the first challenge will be increasing access to water in the region, which has been suffering under the effects of a drought. Poor rainfall and a bad harvest in the area are severely affecting 258,000 people. A further 371,000 are at risk of sickness caused by dehydration and hunger.