Emergency in the Sahel
Support the urgent needs of children in the Sahel affected by the food crisis  

Mauritania

In Mauritania, 42% of the population lives below the poverty line, and the majority of the population is young, with nearly 60% under the age of 25. This situation forces many children to work as domestic servants, the majority of them girls. These children are often victims of exploitation and physical and sexual violence. The country is also affected by food insecurity. Terre des hommes (Tdh) implements activities to strengthen the protection system and to help child migrants or young people in conflict with the law.

What we do

Children and young people in migration

We strengthen the competencies of the members of our partner, the Association des Femmes Cheffes de Famille. This enables a protective support to children affected by mobility in Rosso and Sélibabi. Community anchoring makes it possible to improve ownership and to raise awareness among local populations in order to participate in the protection of children. Tdh has set up reception desks for children and young people on the move, provides emergency care for children and assists grassroots community organisations in assessing the needs of individual cases.

Access to justice

To ensure that children have better access to justice, we work with the justice system, strengthen positive customary justice practices and mechanisms to prevent radicalisation and violence. We train social workers from the Association Femmes Cheffes de Famille to accompany and guide children in conflict with the law, victims and witnesses, and women who have suffered gender-based violence to guarantee their rights. A study on traditional justice has made it possible to strengthen the criminal mediators, Mouslihs, who play an important role in the prior community management of conflicts and for the resolution of minor offences.

Child protection

Tdh supports the government in structuring the child protection system. After supporting the development of standard operating procedures, we train and support community-based organisations to play their role as first responders to children at risk. Through training tailored to each person's role, we provide comprehensive support to children, from emergency response, such as care, counselling and feeding kits, to referral to specialised services.

Specialised care

As part of our specialised care programme, we organise the transfer to Europe of children from disadvantaged families who cannot be operated on locally. Often suffering from heart disease, they are consulted and operated on in partnership with Swiss hospitals. After a period of convalescence and care, the return to their families is arranged. Post-operative medical care is provided by our local partners and social support can be provided, including schooling and training to ensure the child's integration.

Hoping to provide Fatou with opportunities for the future, her parents sent her to work for a Mauritanian family as a domestic servant. However, the situation quickly deteriorated. Fatou’s employers began abusing and beating her.

Fatou, a former domestic servant

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Terre des hommes in Mauritania

Beneficiaries 2021

 

30,913 people

Expatriate staff / National staff

 

3 / 22

Budget 2021

 

CHF 1,474,345  

 

 

 

Where we work

Supported by

Timeline

1984
Launch of the Terre des hommes mission in Mauritania with the opening of two health centres on the outskirts of Nouakchott. Start of transfers to Europe of children requiring specialised surgery.
1998
Terre des hommes sets up legal and social assistance for young people and training for juvenile justice professionals.
2001
Creation of the first special nutrition unit for the treatment of severely malnourished children.
2009
Launch of a pilot project for the protection and reintegration of exploited child domestic workers in Nouakchott, and later in other localities.
2010
Start of a project to help malnourished children in nine hospitals in Nouakchott.
2015
Implementation of a child protection and juvenile justice project in Nouakchott and Nouadhibou.
2018
Project to support the child protection system to ensure the prevention and protection of children affected by mobility, carried out jointly with the Association of Women Heads of Families in Nouakchott and Rosso.
2019
Project to ensure prevention and response to different forms of abuse and violence against girls and boys in Nouakchott.
2019
Project to ensure access to justice for children in conflict with the law, and to prevent radicalisation and violence, especially against women and children.
2019
Launch of a food security, training, integration, resilience and employment project in Nouakchott, Aïoun and Néma.

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Related publications

Annual report 2021

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