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 2013, more than 60,000 people benefited from Tdh’s activities.
Mauritania is affected by two major crises. On one hand, the ongoing political crisis in 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.
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The current situation
• 117,000 births per year (CH: 76,000)
• 34% of babies weigh less than 2.5kg at birth
• 111 children out of 1,000 die before the age of 5 (CH:4‰ )
• 16% of children aged between 5 and 14 work
(Sources: Tdh, UNDP, UNICEF)
Tdh in Mauritania: Country Representative: Enrique Medina Jarquin • National employees: 15 • Expatriate Staff: 1 • 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 • 2014 Budget: CHF427'968.-
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 against 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 their social and professional reintegration.
Child protection systems – Tdh supports the creation of communal systems to ensure the well-being of children, bringing together communities, public authorities and the 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.
• 28 children suffering from incurable illnesses in Mauritania were taken to Europe for specialist care.
• 248 girls were withdrawn from domestic exploitation.
• 2,432 children suffering from acute malnutrition were treated.
• 2,472 women benefited from having their awareness raised on good breastfeeding practices.
What Tdh can do with:
Educational reintegration of a child domestic worker.
Nutritional support for a malnourished child.
Professional reintegration of a child domestic worker.