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UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mohmoud Kabil promotes child rights in Mauritania

© UNICEF Mauritanie/2010
Mr. Kabil met with a former child jockey and congratulated him on his good grades in school

Nouakchott, Mauritania, 28 April 2010- Three-year old Mohamed, in Dar-Naim, a poor suburb of Nouakchott, calmly received from the hands of the Regional Goodwill Ambassador (GWA) Mohmoud Kabil, the two vaccine drops aiming to protect him from polio.

This followed a briefing on the polio campaign in the local health centre by national and regional health authorities and several family visits to witness the strong social mobilization.

The GWA 4-day visit to Mauritania coincided with the s19-country synchronized anti polio campaign launched by the President of Mauritania, evidence of the strong political support ensured through UNCEF and WHO advocacy. 

The objective of this campaign was discussed with the Minister of Health in the presence of the Regional Communication Chief in the Middle East & North Africa region and the Representative of UNICEF, Christian Skoog, in which Mahmoud Kabil expressed his commitment to contribute to awareness raising of the population and to support polio eradication and child rights promotion in Mauritania.

He worked tirelessly in Dar El Baida (the campaign launch site), in Sebkha maternity, Teyaret health centre and in the city of Atar on social mobilization to support the health workers, to do spots and to advocate for immunization programs.

Christian Skoog stressed in his launch speech:  ``this unprecedented mobilization to fight polio would not be possible without UNICEF and WHO’s substantive support through technical and financial assistance and the GWA’s contribution``.

Child survival in general was at the core of the GWA visit to Mauritania as he also advocated for the malaria program.

FGC call for action
Mahmoud Kabil visited ONG Action, a UNICEF key partner, and attended a briefing and a sketch on FGC which is a widespread practice in Mauritania affecting over 72% of women and girls. 

He commended the organisation for the tremendous work done to protect girls from this harmful tradition and made a strong call to end this inhuman practice which has no basis in Islam.

The NGO managers valued the GWA visit and the partnership with UNICEF emphasizing the community work and participative approach to trigger sustainable behavioural change.

Ending child trafficking
In the impoverished Nouakchott slum of Dar-El-Baida, Mohmoud Kabil met with Elkhory a former camel jockey in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The meeting was emotional as the GWA apologized in the name of adults for the plight Elkory suffered by being separated from his family at age 5 and obliged to endure suffering and harm. He commended the wise UAE decision to end this practice and to assist children in their repatriation, social reintegration and education.

"I am proud of you, you show by your success and your performance in the school that you are smart and will have a better future and you deserve respect for that." said the GWA.

The GWA called for a greater role of media in promoting child rights during a press conference covered by the main national and international media in Mauritania.

The wide coverage of the visit allowed the public to know more about the commitment of Mahmoud Kabil for children in Mauritania and in the Middle East and North Africa.

Throughout the visit, he showed compassion, affection and interest, which represent core values to help children around the world to thrive.

By Brahim Ould Isselmou



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