In Mauritania, 66% of the population live below the poverty line. As a result, many children are forced to work as domestic servants. They are often victims of exploitation. Despite the health policies, 43 children out of 1000 die at birth, and almost 30% of the children suffer from chronic malnutrition. Terre des hommes fights against child exploitation and trafficking, and aims to improve child health.

What we do

Fighting exploitation

Our local teams work to put an end to child exploitation, particularly with regard to young migrant girls working as domestic servants. In partnership with a local association, Tdh identifies and listens to these young maids. We offer them legal aid and help them to resume their studies or start a training course, so that they can have a brighter future. To prevent exploitative practices, we also work to raise awareness among local communities of the dangers surrounding child labour. To better respond to the needs of exploited children, we train protection actors.

Child protection

We have paired up with local social protection, education, health and justice organisations to help identify vulnerable children. We protect and support children on the move, children in conflict with the law, and victims of exploitation. We help those children to obtain a birth certificate so that they are legally registered. We propose psychosocial activities and help them return to school or enrol in a professional training course.

Mother and child health

We improve access and the quality of health care by offering better follow-up care to pregnant women and their children. To guarantee this outcome, we organise training sessions for health professionals and volunteers so that they can take care of ill or malnourished children. To prevent malnutrition, mothers can take part in our courses, where they receive important advice on nutrition, helping them to provide their children with a balanced diet. Our local teams also repair and build toilets, and provide access to drinking water in order to improve hygiene conditions in the health centres.

Specialised care

As part of our specialised care programme, we arrange for impoverished children that cannot receive the necessary medical treatment in Mauritania to be transferred to one of our partner hospitals in Europe. These children, mostly suffering from complex heart diseases, are examined and undergo surgery. Once they have fully recovered, they can return home to their family. One of our local partners then follows their progress to ensure that they remain in good health, and we support them in their school reintegration.

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 her, beating her daily and withholding her

Fatou, a former domestic servant


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Terre des hommes in Mauritania

Beneficiaries in 2016

98’695 people

Expatriate staff / National staff

1 / 25

2017 Budget

CHF 493’000.-

Programme locations

Nouakchott, Nouadhibou, Rosso

Local partners

Department for Children, Regional Department for Health and Social Welfare and for Children, Department for the Legal Protection of Children, Special Unit for Minors, National Cardiology Centre, Association of Female Heads of Households, Association for Children and Development, Ministry for health, Direction of basic services and nutrition, Ministry of justice and of the Interior


Where we work

Supported by


Terre des hommes starts working in Mauritania with the opening of two health centres on the outskirts of Nouakchott. Tdh begins transferring children in need of specialised surgery to Europe.
Terre des hommes implements a legal and social support system for youths and launches a training programme for professionals in the area of justice for minors.
Creation of the first special unit to treat children suffering from severe malnutrition.
Launch of a pilot project for the protection and reintegration of children exploited as domestic servants. First rolled out in Nouakchott and then in several other towns.
Launch of a care system for children suffering from malnutrition in nine hospitals in Nouakchott
Implementation of a child protection and juvenile justice project in Nouakchott and Nouadhibou.

Related publications

Making an impact for children: Annual Report 2017
Specialised care programme - Annual Report 2017
Thematic policy - Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
Infopage WASH_EN

Related publications