APDF, Mali - Women’s shelters for the protection against violence

The APDF managers in 2017: Bintou Diawara Coulibaly (on the right) and Aminata Koné Diakité . Photo: © APDFThe APDF managers in 2017: Bintou Diawara Coulibaly (on the right) and Aminata Koné Diakité . Photo: © APDF

"For me, the fight for women’s rights is a fight against injustice, arbitrariness and absurdity. By violating the Human Rights from more than half of humanity, meaning girls and women, the world renounces from a holistic and continuous development." – Fatoumata Siré Diakité, founder of APDF

Project area: Bamako, Mopti and other locations all over Mali

Supported by TDF since: 2009

Target group: girls and women affected by violence


  • The Human Development Index ranks Mali place 184 out of 189 (2019). It is one of the poorest countries in Africa with over 50% of the people living below the poverty line.
  • Since 2012, Mali suffers from political unrest. Especially the North, where Islamist groups took over state power between 2012 and 2013. Since July 2013, MINUSMA (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali) is supposed to restore peace in the region.
  • Especially women suffer from the unsolved war crimes. A report of UN OCHA (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) of 2017 identified an increased risk of sexual violence against women in the regions of Kidal, Gao and Timbuktu, among others, due to the tense security situation. 
  • Mali is one of the few countries worldwide that have not yet adopted a national law prohibiting FGM. Nearly 89% of Malian girls and women suffer FGM.
  • Women have a very difficult stand due to the conflict, the widespread practice of early and forced marriage and educational discrimination.

In the protection against violence, the Association for the Improvement and Defense of Women’s Rights (APDF, “Association pour le Progrès et la Défense des Droits des Femmes”) is the only non-governmental organization in Mali combining shelter and social, medical, psychological and legal aid services under the same roof. APDF counts 30.000 members and has 8 regional offices all over Mali. 

The women’s shelters in Bamako and Mopti take in girls and women affected by discrimination and violence, and offer comprehensive support programs. The women can participate in vocational trainings, like sewing courses or workshops on agricultural production, which open up own income opportunities. If needed, they are provided with the necessary materials and tools to start their own businesses.   

With the women’s shelters, APDF pursues the following objectives:

  • to strengthen, protect and defend fundamental human rights of girls and women.
  • to fight against any form of gender-specific violence, including harmful practices and traditions.
  • ending Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) once and for all.
  • including women in decision making comittees in all areas.
  • to improve the social status and economic participation of women in Mali.
  • to support women in their wish to be economically independent.
  • Monitoring the compliance with regional and national law against discrimination


  • With 47 decentralized project offices, APDF is represented in 8 regions of Mali.
  • In the women’s shelter in Bamako, in 2013, 426 girls and women were supported. In 2014, 505 girls and women used the services of the shelter.
  • The vocational trainings reach out to around 300 women per year.
  • Through frequent projects and events, APDF raises awareness within the Malian society regarding issues such as violence against women or FGM. At the same time, these campaigns mobilize people to stand up against those problems.
  • Moreover, APDF has established itself as respected women’s rights organization in Mali whose expertise is consulted regularly by political leaders and civil society.

Project founder: Fatoumata Siré Diakité († October, 2016)

Contacts: TERRE DES FEMMES – International Cooperation (iz@frauenrechte.de)


In order for APDF to ensure the sustainability of their project work, the organization needs your financial support.

Support APDF with a one-time donation or contribute regularly and become a sponsor!

You can also donate to the following account, using the keyword “Mali” as a reference for your payment:

IBAN DE35 8309 4495 0103 1160 00