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Religious leader champions children’s rights in Mauritania

© UNICEF Mauritania/2009
Hademine Ould Saleck, with UNICEF and local authorities, at a workshop on ending corporal punishment.

NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania, 14 December 2009 - In mosques around Mauritania, the 20 November prayers were dedicated to children’s rights. The seed that grew into this nationwide action was planted more than 30 years ago by Hademine Ould Saleck.

A committed champion for child rights, Hademine Ould Saleck was a young teacher in 1975. He taught in an impoverished region of Mauritania’s southeast, and it was there that he became aware of the importance of addressing poverty and realizing the rights of all children.

Advocacy for children

Hademine became an Imam after completing his religious studies, and went on to create the first Imam Network in the country. Launched in 2002, the religious advocacy group works closely with UNICEF and other partners.

The group has spoken out on a variety of subjects related to children and children’s rights, including female genital cutting, corporal punishment and reproductive health. The group brings such issues to the fore by raising awareness, conducting media campaigns and educating their communities.

Nationwide day of prayer

This year, to mark the launch of the first annual World Day of Prayer and Action for Children, Hademine’s network worked with UNICEF and the Ministry of Childhood to coordinate a nationwide day of prayer dedicated to children’s rights. Every mosque in Mauritania participated.

Leading the prayer at Ibn Abbas Mosque was Hademine Ould Saleck, who continues to work tirelessly to alleviate the burdens of children and build hope for their future.




More than 40 per cent of the world's Muslim population are children. This video explores some of the dramatic issues they face.
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