© Reuters/2007/O’Reilly

A makeshift shelter in a slum in Nouakchott, capital of Mauritania. Prolonged droughts and major crop infestations have raised malnutrition rates throughout the country.


Since 1988, Mauritania has been suffering from recurrent and prolonged droughts and from poor rainy seasons that damaged crops and reduced food production. In between droughts, there have been severe inundations and periods of intensive cold. To make matters worse, the country suffered from a major crop infestation with the sesame worm during the 2003/2004 agricultural season and also had an unprecedented locust invasion in 2004. This has created a major cereal deficit nationally, and as a result of this deficit the rate of moderate and severe malnutrition has increased alarmingly in all the regions. Mortality rates in drought-affected regions are also high.


Health and nutrition: Beneficiaries will benefit from: continued support to 367 therapeutic feeding centres for 2,871 severely malnourished children; improved case management planning; regular implementation of bi-annual surveys to feed into an Early Warning System with focus on children; a National Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding; support to national and regional institutions as well as to community groups working in community feeding centres; capacity-building for Government institutions to boost national planning efforts towards more sustainable nutritional interventions; distribution of vitamin A and deworming tablets to all preschool children; assessment of management of acute malnutrition programme; promotion of impregnated mosquito nets and distribution of 20,000 impregnated mosquito nets to households of 16 pilot health districts; distribution of ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTFs), essential emergency drugs and equipment to 367 health centres.

Water, sanitation and hygiene: Some 40,000 displaced persons will be reached through the following key activities: construction/rehabilitation of wells and adequate sanitation facilities for 50 schools; construction/ rehabilitation of 50 wells and boreholes and installation of handpumps to provide safe drinking water to some 40,000 individuals in permanent and return areas; construction of up to 1,500 household latrines; repair and maintenance of mini water supply systems; promotion of hygiene education and hygiene awareness programmes in 50 schools and 50 local communities; provision of 30 collapsible water tanks, 20,000 jerrycans and 200 kg of chlorine tablets.

Education: Around 5,000 children displaced by the latest floods in the town of Tintane and elsewhere in the Senegal River valley will benefit from: basic scholastic materials, including notebooks, pencils and erasers, for 50 primary schoolchildren; 205 school-in-a-box kits benefiting 3,000 students and primary schoolteachers; rehabilitation of 40 temporary classrooms; installation of 220 tents to be used as a temporary classrooms; construction of 50 latrine blocks with 4 latrine cubicles each, along with 200 to 500 squatting plastic plates; 50 school sanitation committees and cooperatives to manage emergencies and school hygiene; 50 sport-in-a-box kits containing sports equipment and supplies.

Child protection: UNICEF will focus its child protection activities on children with disabilities, working children, street children, and girl domestic workers.

Mine action: UNICEF will focus on mine-risk education, including the sensitization of children at school and nomadic families. UNICEF will also provide assistance to landmine survivors.

Summary of UNICEF financial needs for 2008
Sector US$
Health and nutrition 1,500,000
Water, sanitation and hygiene 500,000
Education 350,000
Child protection 250,000
Mine action 250,000
Total* 2,850,000

*The total includes a maximum recovery rate of 7 per cent. The actual recovery rate on contributions will be calculated in accordance with UNICEF Executive Board Decision 2006/7 dated 9 June 2006.


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