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Map of Mauritania
A woman and 4 girls in colourful dress walk along a field carrying water and supplies © UNICEF/2017/A.Tamayo-Avarez Women in the villages around Rosso, Mauritania, walk for kilometers to fetch water and bring it home in cans on their heads.

Mauritania

In 2018, UNICEF and partners plan for:
32,244

children under 5 suffering from SAM admitted for treatment

42,244

severely malnourished children provided with access to water for drinking, cooking and hygiene

10,000

children provided with safe access to community spaces for socialization, play and learning

2018 Requirements: US$19,131,000

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Snapshot

Total people in need: 217,000
Total children (<18) in need: 143,187

Total people to be reached in 2018: 177,602
Total children to be reached in 2018: 128,731

Mauritania is experiencing a malnutrition crisis that has been aggravated by droughts and floods. More than 217,000 people will require humanitarian assistance in 2018, including 143,000 children.1 In these areas, access to drinking water and sanitation is below the national average at 62 per cent, and an estimated 86,000 persons are in need of safe drinking water.2 The latest data available on the nutrition situation shows that 21 departments in eight regions are above the World Health Organization (WHO) threshold of a critical nutrition situation, with global acute malnutrition above 15 per cent and/or severe acute malnutrition (SAM) above 2 per cent.3 In 2018, 165,000 children and pregnant and lactating women will require nutritional care and treatment, and an estimated 32,000 children under 5 years will require treatment for SAM.4 This represents a 70 per cent increase compared with the average annual caseload over the past five years.5 Given the deteriorating security situation in the Sahel, 52,000 Malian refugees, more than half of whom are children, will require access to basic services, including access to potable water for drinking, cooking and hygiene, as well as education and protection support.6

Humanitarian strategy

2018 programme targets

Nutrition

  • 32,244 children under 5 suffering from SAM admitted for treatment
  • 47,871 pregnant/lactating women reached with an integrated package of infant and young child feeding services
  • 77,167 children aged 6 to 23 months reached with micronutrient powder for home food fortification

WASH

  • 42,244 severely malnourished children provided with access to water for drinking, cooking and hygiene
  • 13,780 schoolchildren in refugee camps and host communities provided with WASH facilities and training sessions
  • 70,000 persons in refuge-hosting communities and malnutrition- and flood-affected areas received training/awareness-raising sessions on living in environments free of open defecation

Child protection

  • 10,000 children provided with safe access to community spaces for socialization, play and learning

Education

  • 5,500 school-aged children, including adolescents, accessing quality education, including through temporary structures

Given the nutrition situation in Mauritania, UNICEF will support quality, life-saving integrated management of acute malnutrition services at scale. This will include the provision of ready-to-use therapeutic foods and other medical supplies and equipment associated with SAM management, as well as access to potable water for drinking, cooking and hygiene. The UNICEF nutrition response will also focus on strengthening monitoring and information management systems, as well as multisectoral coordination mechanisms for heath, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and food security. The WASH component, which includes access to water for drinking, cooking and hygiene and training and awareness-raising sessions, will cover areas affected by the nutrition crisis and areas hosting refugees. In response to the Malian refugee crisis, UNICEF will work with the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Affairs and non-governmental organization partners to strengthen national child protection systems and community-based child protection mechanisms. UNICEF will also provide an immediate protection response and emergency education support to vulnerable boys and girls, including psychosocial support, recreational activities, family tracing and reunification, and support for children formerly associated with armed groups. UNICEF educational support will target 5,500 Malian refugee children.

Results from 2017

As of 31 October 2017, UNICEF had US$4 million available against the US$7.7 million worth of needs outlined in the regional appeal (52 per cent funded).7 The low level of funding against the appeal impacted UNICEF's ability to deliver programming to vulnerable women and children. With UNICEF and partner support, 13,000 children under 5 with SAM were admitted into therapeutic feeding programmes.8 UNICEF reached more than 65,400 children and women with critical WASH information to prevent child illness, and more than 5,800 children gained access to quality education. UNICEF also responded to the immediate protection and psychosocial needs of refugee children in Mberra camp and host communities. A total of 5,788 vulnerable children (3,736 girls and 2,052 boys)9 were identified through established child protection systems and reached with child protection services, including psychosocial support, recreational activities, family tracing and reunification, and support for children formerly associated with armed groups. Some 1,000 children and adolescents received support through child- and youth-friendly spaces established in Mberra camp.10

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Funding requirements

In line with the country’s inter-agency 2018 Strategic Response Plan, UNICEF is requesting US$19,131,000 to meet the humanitarian needs of children in Mauritania in 2018. Without timely and adequate funding, UNICEF will be unable to support the national response to the country’s ongoing nutrition crisis and critical WASH-related needs. Basic supplies for primary education are also urgently needed to uphold refugee and host community children’s right to education.

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1 Government of Mauritania Ministry of Health, Nutrition SMART Survey, August 2017; and United Nations Children's Fund Mauritania, Integrated Management of Acute Malnutrition Database, November 2017.
2 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey Mauritania, 2015.
3 Government of Mauritania Ministry of Health, Nutrition SMART Survey, August 2017.
4 Government of Mauritania Ministry of Health, Nutrition SMART Survey, August 2017; and Word Food Programme Mauritania, Food Security Monitoring Survey, November 2017.
5 Word Food Programme Mauritania, Food Security Monitoring Survey, November 2017.
6 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Mberra refugee camp database, November 2017.
7 Mauritania appeared as part of the West and Central Africa appeal in Humanitarian Action for Children 2017.
8 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Mberra refugee camp database, November 2017.
9 Government of Mauritania Ministry of Social Affairs, Childhood and the Family Database, November 2017.
10 Ibid.