Building the skills for a better future …

Livelihoods for women

Mauritania is in the western Sahara desert. Our project is in a village on the Southern fringes of the desert. Rural life is harsh, the villagers are semi-nomadic herders who move their animals with the seasons to follow the available pasture. Widows and divorced women are particularly vulnerable, especially those with children to support. Each woman is given 4 female goats and two chickens to start a flock and earn a future income. During the first six months each flock receives veterinary and nutritional support and guidance as it becomes established.

Previous projects in Mauritania

Since 2005 Diapalante has completed various projects in Mauritania, all led by Ibrahima Diallo who founded Diapalante Mauritanie. These now independent projects include:

Healthcare for street children

These talibés are young boys who are sent to learn the Koran from a marabout (a religious folk teacher). In return for their bed and board, the children are expected to beg on the street and from door to door to get food and provide a financial contribution to the marabout. Often they are housed in very bad conditions, which make them more likely to catch malaria and other illnesses.

In several towns projects were set up to provide basic medical aid and mosquito nets (where appropriate) to the local Talibés.

We understand that the situation of these children will not get better until the system they are in changes. Working closely with their families and the local marabouts we sought to find ways in which we could make small improvements to their day to day life.

Giving a voice to the disabled community

In 2007, we were approached by a group of people with physical disabilities in the southern town of Rosso. With no government support and limited job prospects, many of them were forced to beg in order to support their families.

We worked with them to form a local association and set up a workshop for people with physical disabilities where they could learn tailoring, shoe-making, metalwork and other trades.  This workshop had a positive impact, both in giving the disabled community a sense of belonging in town affairs and in providing them with a regular income.

Later, we organised an appeal to provide wheelchairs to the wider disabled community as mobility in the town is very difficult. Using their skills, workshop members adapted the wheelchairs to make them more resilient on the muddy streets.

The workshop is now funded by the local Mayor’s Office and the disabled community in Rosso has a public voice in local affairs.

Supporting semi-nomadic herders

Our first project funded the construction of a cattle vaccination park near Boghé in Southern Mauritania. The park is used to vaccinate over 3000 cattle in the government’s annual programme. The improved herd health increases the sustainability of cattle herders’ livelihoods.

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