Mauritania


Our Success in

Mauritania


2019

Started Working in Mauritania

4

Projects

22K

Direct Beneficiaries & Program Participants

69%

Female Participants

200K

Indirect Beneficiaries & Program Participants

Situation in Mauritania

Mauritania hosts over 2’500 urban refugees and asylum- seekers and almost 55’000 Malian refugees in and around Mbera Refugee Camp. Despite the conclusion of a peace agreement in 2015, large-scale Malian refugees’ large-scale returns are not expected due to persistent violence in northern and central Mali. In January 2019 alone, 313 new arrivals were registered in Mbera Refugee Camp; the crisis’s protracted nature has prompted United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to engage actors critical to the strengthening of the humanitarian-development nexus. The refugee population in Mbera Refugee Camp is relatively young, with children (less than 18 years) numbering 32’653 (50.6% Female, 49.4% Male).

Out of a total of 32’653 children in the camp, around 20’000 are of school age. But according to UNHCR January 2019 statistics, 3’058 children attended primary school students (1’564 girls and 1’493 boys) and 353 students from secondary school. 

According to findings by RET, poverty, and cultural norms (early marriage and pregnancy, low perception of the value of girls’ education) are significant barriers impacting girls’. There are cases of sexual violence against girls within the school setting that are even perpetrated by the school staff; though, there are no available statistics to document these violations. The forms of gender-based violence most prevalent in camp and local communities outside continue to force child marriage, sexual harassment, female genital mutilation (FGM), rape, and physical assault. 

While poverty and household socioeconomic vulnerability often pave the way to a child forced marriage, the latter is perceived as a ‘protection marriage,’ protecting young girls from premarital sex, a pregnancy outside marriage, sexual assault, and rape. In reality, it compromises a girl’s future by resulting in early pregnancy, interrupting her schooling, and placing her at increased domestic violence risk. Rape is often unreported due to mistrust, and the victims’ fear of marginalization, rejection and stigmatization.

RET’s Interventions

RET entered Mauritania in 2019 to ensure inclusive and equitable access to educational opportunities and provide protection services and tailor-made solutions, building on the field mission findings to address existing and/or recurring humanitarian, peace, and development gaps.

To date, RET has targeted more than 22 K direct participants in the Mbera refugee camp and 6 villages in Moughataa of Bassikounou ( SIDRE (Bassikounou); AGHOR (Megve); LEMGHAISS (Bassikounou); KLEIVE (Fassala); KINDJERLE (Fassala); BERETOUMA (Fassala) throughout 4 projects implemented and supported by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration (BPRM) , UNHCR and UNICEF. 

Did you know that RET, is the only service provider in Mbera Camp Mauritania with an active center dedicated to providing Individual and Group Psychosocial Support? Also, RET constructed an open recreational & Gaming space next to the center for the youth in the Mbera camp to plan their activities.

RET’s project “Building Educational Resilience of Vulnerable Out-of-School Youth & Adolescents in Mbera Refugee Camp” aimed to reach out-of-school adolescents and youth (refugee & host) to provide them with Secondary Education, Functional Literacy, and Numeracy classes (FLNP), in addition to Protection and Psychosocial Support. 

The project goal was to enhance the educational resilience and psychosocial wellbeing of out-of-school ‘vulnerable youth and adolescents’ who are not covered by any other organization in the Mbera refugee ramp. To achieve this goal, RETworked on improving vulnerable youth and adolescents’ access to accredited education, developing teaching human capital in the Mbera refugee camp, and improving the psychosocial wellbeing of vulnerable refugees residing in the camp. Moreover, RET provided protection services that build on RET’s field mission findings intended to address the existing protection service gaps and responded to the vulnerable underserved population’s protection needs.

The forms of gender-based violence most prevalent in camp and local communities outside continue to be: child forced marriage, sexual harassment, female genital mutilation (FGM), rape, and physical assault. While poverty and household socioeconomic vulnerability often pave the way to forced marriages, the latter is perceived as a ‘protection marriage,’ protecting young girls from premarital sex, a pregnancy outside marriage, sexual assault, and rape. In reality, it compromises a girl’s future by resulting in early pregnancy, interrupting her schooling, and placing her at increased domestic violence risk.

This project, funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau for Population, Refugees, and Migration (BPRM) ensuresinclusive and equitable access to educational opportunities, in line with “SDG 4: Education” through a three-pillared approach that addresses the gap in transitioning to secondary education of school-aged and over-age learners; focuses on bridging the qualification-gap and enhancing returns in the classroom through capacity building; and endorses “a gender-balanced approach” to youth agency pillared around cultivating leadership, in tandem with supporting youth resilience, as a conduit for conflict transformation and sustainable peacebuilding. 

In the Mbera refugee camp in Mauritania and due to RET’s successful door-to-door mobilization techniques, in collaboration with Koranic School and the Parent-teacher associations, RET was able to register 213 youth and adolescents in the catch-up courses and 653 learners in the Functional Literacy and Numeracy Program.


RET is amongst the first NGO’s to implement Distance Learning measures in Mbera Camp Mauritania during the confinement of COVID-19 and is continuing both the catch-up courses and the Functional Literacy and Numeracy Program with no interruptions. 

To ensure peaceful coexistence between communities, RET, in partnership with UNHCR will promote economic and social development activities by creating income-generating activities and developing resources to encourage diversification of economic activities for women and men. 

Given that the refugees’ activities have significant environmental impacts in the Moughataa of Bassiknou (impoverishment of natural resources, soil degradation, deforestation, pollution, etc.), the project will also implement awareness-raising and training sessions for actors on adaptation and mitigation techniques. Moreover, RET will ensure green SMEs’ creation through actions of soil restoration, nurseries, reforestation, agro-ecology and management, monitoring and surveillance, etc …) According to studies carried out by the UNHCR on value chains and socioeconomic profiling of households, there are real investment opportunities at the local level, in sectors and niches that promise and provide jobs for refugees Malians than for the host populations.

The project will contribute to the mitigation of tension between the refugees and the host community through actions to improve the living conditions, empowerment, and resilience of the host populations and strengthen peaceful coexistence between the two communities. This project will emphasize the involvement of women, young people, and minorities and the poorest and most vulnerable groups in the community. 

The project proposed relevant activities, including:
(1) to structure small agricultural producers into a transhumance management committee and train in horticultural techniques, reforestation, and soil restoration; 
(2) to manage the natural resources through the constitution of a community program that brings together all the key actors (host communities, civil society, and local authorities and refugees); 
(3) to establish relations between refugee herders and host populations to ensure sound management of the sharing of pastures and the distribution of limited resources and to promote crafts and trade for women;
(4) to train the participants on the techniques of valuing artisanal productions from local products; 
(5) to manage artisanal processing units of local products (milk, leather, etc.) in Bassiknou, Fassala, and Megva; 
(6) to establish efficient monitoring of activities linked to the co-management and to guarantee a system for managing complaints and feedback;
(7) to sell the products online to international markets through RET’s Leap Natural brand, which sells the products to diverse global customers and the beneficiaries’ products. 
(8) to generate income for women (75%) and men (15%) in identified sector niches (cutting and sewing, processing of agricultural products, trade, various services, etc.) 
(9) to establish green small and medium-sized enterprises SMEs that comply with the strategic approach in the selected value chains, taking into account local markets and involving beneficiaries in the design of projects; 
(10) to raise awareness on the “Do No Harm” to benefit the host and refugee communities. 

The project is implemented according to the concerted execution approach with beneficiaries and local communities, in partnership with decentralized State services and private structures, to create the conditions for an immediate and lasting impact on the empowerment of this project’s target host populations.






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