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Terre des hommes (Tdh) has been active in Mauritania since 1984 and runs programmes promoting the health and protection of children and their families. In 2012, more than 55,000 people benefited from Tdh activities.


The context

Mauritania is affected by two major crises. On one hand, the ongoing political crisis in neighbouring Mali is causing thousands of Touaregs to flee to Mauritania, a country with a very similar culture. Officially, 89,000 people are living in refugee camps, where promiscuity and insecurity pose the greatest risks for children. Because these camps are located in the conflict zones, they are difficult to access, and Caucasians are not permitted to enter, thus limiting the possibilities of humanitarian intervention. Furthermore, the food crisis in the Sahel has not spared Mauritania. Marked by a significant lack of rain, 2011 ushered in a severe drought, affecting agriculture and livestock and exposing the population to food insecurity. The country is also vulnerable to the effects of the global financial crisis, and the price of staple goods continues to rise. Despite efforts undertaken by the government, the results of health and social projects remain poor and insufficiently documented.

Centered at -10.940835 21.789 5

Children’s situation

• 117,000 births per year (CH : 76,000).
• 34% of newborns are underweight.
• 111 children out of 1,000 die before age 5 (CH:5‰).
• 16% of children aged 5 to 14 work.

Tdh in Mauritania : Country Representative : Enrique Medina • National employees : 15 • Areas of intervention : Nouakchott and Nouadhibou • Partners : Ministry of Health, Regional Department for Health and Social Welfare and for Children, Association of Female
Heads of Households, Unicef • 2013 Budget : CHF 633, 442.-

Our intervention

Health and nutrition – Tdh intervenes in Nouakchott to improve the health and nutrition of children and their mothers. Thanks to training from national healthcare workers, women and children receive help in preventing, diagnosing and treating illnesses, including malnutrition.

Protection of children working as domestics – Tdh fights the exploitation of young and teenage girls employed as domestic workers. In partnership with the Association of Female Heads of Households, these “servants” are identified, supported and assisted in reintegrating socially and professionally.

Child protection systems – Tdh supports the creation of communal systems to ensure the well-being of children, bringing together communities, public authorities and civil society.

Specialised care – Tdh offers specialised care to the most impoverished children when their condition requires it. If they cannot be treated locally, children are sent to Europe to be operated on there.

2012 Results

• In 2012, Terre des hommes sponsored a vaccination campaign and offered medical examinations and growth monitoring for children in the underprivileged El Mina district in Nouakchott.
• Support for health centres in this zone also enabled to provide advices and education for mothers. A total of 23,760 youth benefited from this support.
• On a national level, the Foundation educated 340 workers from the state services and civil society about child protection.
• Tdh also continued to make families aware of child protection, with 12,721 families participating in community meetings.
• Finally, in terms of treatment, 275 young children were sent abroad for medical treatment or received post-operative care in their own country.

What Tdh can do with :

CHF 30.–
Educational reintegration of a child domestic worker.

CHF 35.–
Nutritional support for a malnourished child.

CHF 100.–
Professional reintegration of a child domestic worker


Bocar, Tdh beneficiary in Mauritania

Bocar has lost his father. His mother, a maid, does her best to provide for her five children. The whole family lives in two dilapidated shacks without water or electricity.

- Bocar, Tdh beneficiary in Mauritania

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