Located in the arid Sahel region of West Africa, Mauritania faces recurrent crisis, linked in particular to drought and floods, as well as periodic locust infestations. Living conditions in remote areas are particularly harsh, with rural populations facing "lean seasons" of five to six months. Hunger and malnutrition are a serious concern especially in the current context of volatile food prices and economic crisis. It is unlikely that Mauritania will achieve its target for the first Millenium Development Goal (Eradicate extreme hunger and poverty). One of the key determinants of malnutrition is food insecurity, which remains a major problem in Mauritania.
Working with experts in various agricultural fields, ACORD seeks to mitigate the negative impact of droughts and locust infestation upon food security by engaging the local communities in proactive measures that can minimise the waste in food production and build local capacities. In addition, ACORD contributes to empower women to stand up against injustices, to promote social dialogue between descendants of former slaves and former masters as well as responding to HIV and AIDS through community sensitisation. Because of our extensive knowledge of the local context and proven participatory methodologies, we are often called upon to intervene be it in post-disaster activities, recovery, public sensitisation, peace building, capacity building, and in boosting agricultural production.
Areas of focus
Discover a documentary on a project of securisation of the agropatoral production in Mauritania implemented from 2007 to 2011 in 5 regions of Mauritania to ensure sustainable and concerted production.
>> Food security: Our focus is on improving access to food through investing in infrastructures, especially water management structures such as deviation canal and dikes, increasing the efficiency of irrigation, improving natural resources management and facilitating locally-owned disaster management and crisis responses (especially in response to locust invasions, droughts and floods). 25.000 households have been protected from damages caused by floods. Since 2012, ACORD also contributes to fighting food insecurity and malnutrition through cash support to vulnerable populations in Hodh El Gharbi during the hunger gap. ACORD also empowers small producers and marginalised social groups (as women and descendants of former slaves) through advocacy training and rights awareness sessions and facilitates their participation in local and national decision making processes on matters affecting their lives.
>> Researches: ACORD in alliance with other local and international partners has conducted several researches on improved local crops and sustainable agriculture in the specific context of Mauritania. Researches on the efficiency of marketing sorghum in selected areas of Mauritania, on agricultural best practices, on Mauritanian women and access to land, etc. serves to inform our work with small producers and support our advocacy work on policy changes at national level.
Where we work
Our main office is based in Nouakchott and our programmes are located in Hodh El Gharbi et Hodh Echarghi, Assaba, Gorgol and Guidimakha.
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Communities in Mauritania tell their stories
My name is Aissata Alassane Sarr. I am a 40 year old widow, member of the women's small-scale market gardening group of Guiraye in the municipality of Djéol, Kaédi district in Southern Mauritania. I have 7 children and 5 old people to take care of at home. Traditional farming has always been my main source of income, but it is subject to erratic rain fall and various pests. Participation in the group has helped me make a small increase in my production, although it is still quite low due to poor infrastructure, inadequate horticultural equipment and my limited skills in small-scale market gardening. However, since 2007 I have experienced a real improvement in my life thanks to ACORD's support. My income has significantly increased thanks to more land (up from 60m² to 160m²), better agricultural equipment and input, training in farming techniques and land protection.
Through literacy training and sensitisation I have learnt how to count, read and write, and also how to advocate for my rights and fulfil my duties. I am now able to provide quality food for my family every day and also to buy stationery for my children who are still at school. I have been sensitized on HIV&AIDS, the negative impact of early and forced marriages for young girls, as well as prevention of mother and child mortality. This has contributed to my enlightenment and that of my family. I was able to meet with other women from nearby villages and we were able to exchange our experiences and difficulties and seek solution to our common problems. I am very satisfied with the intervention of ACORD in our village and I wish to continue our partnership until I become self-sufficient.
Our partners in Mauritania
The European Commission and Oxfam Intermon support our efforts to improve food security and to increase agricultural production. With financial support from IFAD and working in partnership with the Mauritanian Government, ACORD has been improving farm crops around the Maghama Plateau. The United Nations Democracy Fund support our project to promote citizen partcipation of the descendants of former slaves in the wilaya of Hodh El Gharbi. ACORD is also working in partnership with UNICEF, GRDR, ARDM and ADICOR .
Photos, videos and publications
Marching toward social justice in West Africa (DVD, 2011). Find out how marginalised and too often excluded communities in West Africa organize themselves and work towards upholding their fundamental rights, in particular their Right to Food.
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Looking back - Moving forward (Synthesis report, multi-country research, 2015), assessing implementation of the Beijing platform of action for gender equality, including in Mauritania.
ACORD Mauritania in the UNDEF (United Nations Democracy Fund) Newsletter. Read the newsletter (page 4).
Photos and videos of ACORD's work in Mauritania can be sent upon request. Contact us by e-mail.
How you can support communities in Mauritania
As a result of ACORD's focus on meaningful change, there has been good progress in terms of building local capacity. Localities in Hodh El Gharbi for instance have benefited from water management structures such as deviation canals and dikes. These have protected more than 25,000 households from damages caused by recurrent floods.
Improvements in the judicial processes dealing with women's rights have also been witnessed in the past few years, thanks to a civil society that is keen to constantly remind the judicial administration of its responsibilities.
Help us to reduce food insecurity in Mauritania: make your donation now!