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In Mauritania, 42% of the population lives below the poverty line, with the majority of the population under 25 years old. These two factors force many children to work as domestic servants, especially girls. They are often victims of exploitation and physical and sexual violence. Terre des hommes (Tdh) supports children and youth in migration as well as children in conflict with the law. We also reinforce the protection system to guarantee children’s rights.

What we do

Children and youth in migration

We implement a capacity building programme for our operational partner, the Association des Femmes Chefs de Famille, enabling them to accompany children affected by mobility. The community anchoring allows to identify children at risk, accompany then in a protective way and to sensitise the local populations to participate in child protection. Tdh supports young people and women in their social and economic reintegration to improve their living conditions. Hygiene, nutrition and health practices, including breastfeeding, are improved through awareness raising and training. Protective spaces are opened to allow the orientation of young people and the development of their life project to accompany them through professional training or supporting them financially to develop their project.

Access to justice

Strengthening the justice system, positive customary justice practices and mechanisms for preventing radicalisation and violence, as well as strengthening the institutional and community framework, are the keys to sustainably strengthening access to justice for children and women. We train social workers from the Association des Femmes Chefs de Famille to accompany and guide individually, according to standardised operational procedures, children in conflict with the law, victims and witnesses as well as women who have suffered gender-based violence. This ensures access to rights and justice for those concerned.

Child protection

In partnership with grassroots community organisations that follow a training course, Tdh accompanies the children and provides them with services adapted to their needs such as care, psychosocial support and food kits. At the same time, we strengthen the protection system through the creation of standard procedures, harmonising good practice in child protection and support, both by social workers and institutional protection agents.

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, they are returned to their families. Post-operative medical care is provided by our local partners. Social support is 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


Terre des hommes in Mauritania

Beneficiaries 2020


14,797 people

Expatriate / local employees


3 / 22

Budget 2020


CHF 1,356,235  




Where we work

Supported by


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.
Terre des hommes sets up legal and social assistance for young people and training for juvenile justice professionals.
Creation of the first special nutrition unit for the treatment of severely malnourished children.
Launch of a pilot project for the protection and reintegration of exploited child domestic workers in Nouakchott, and later in other localities.
Start of a project to help malnourished children in nine hospitals in Nouakchott.
Implementation of a child protection and juvenile justice project in Nouakchott and Nouadhibou.
Project to support the child protection system to ensure the prevention and protection by mobility, carried out jointly with the Association of Women Heads of Families in Nouakchott and Rosso.
Project to ensure prevention and response to different forms of abuse and violence against girls and boys in Nouakchott.
Project to ensure access to justice for children in conflict with the law, and to prevent radicalisation and violence, especially against women and children.

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Related publications

Annual report 2021

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