(IRIN) – Many people in northern Mali had high hopes their lives would improve following the signing of a peace deal in June, but the ongoing fighting in the north of the country is increasingly threatening the livelihoods of millions, affecting everything from access to food, water, education and grazing. Since the conflict began in 2012, households have struggled to find work and collect crops as the effects of climate change and persistent insecurity make it harder and harder to eke out an existence. While some of the estimated 136,000 refugees and 90,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) have begun to return home, many remain living within host communities or camps.