The Islamic Republic of Mauritania is among the most expansive territories in West Africa, after Niger and its neighbour Mali. The country covers more than a million square kilometres, making it 33 times the size of Belgium. Despite its arid, Sahelian climate, Mauritania has an underexploited potential for agriculture, livestock keeping and forestry. In the south-east of the country, though, agro-pastoralists are confronted with many difficulties. Soil erosion and the shortage of water and pastures make their lives hard. Such are the challenges to overcome in this new intervention area.


How we help

Our team is active in southern Mauritania, in the wilayas (regions) of Assaba and Hodh El Gharbi, which are predominantly pastoral.

  • We identify degraded pastoral sites and the work needed to restore them, in partnership with local governments and rural communities in Assaba.
  • We support agro-pastoralists with conservation work and work to preserve the soil and water: weirs to slow the movement of water, firebreaks, half-moons, stone barriers, dams, etc. These facilities protect their fields and pastures from erosion. They also extract the maximum value from rainfall, which is becoming increasingly unpredictable in the region.
  • To make this happen, we apply the HIMO approach (which stands for haute intensité de main d’œuvre, or high intensity of labour): agro-pastoralists are paid to do the work. The purpose of this payment is to help them meet their families’ needs, especially during the hungry season.
  • In order to ensure the sustainability of the infrastructure, we encourage rural communities to organise themselves and form management committees. These structures are responsible for supervising the maintenance of the restored sites.
  • In Hodh El Gharbi, we help dairy and agricultural farmers to make their businesses more professional. In time, the objective is to develop a sector for the marketing of their products.

Local partners

The Groupement National des Associations Pastorales (National Group of Pastoral Associations, or GNAP) is a local NGO whose mission is to defend the material and moral interests of livestock keepers by facilitating the development of the livestock-keeping sector. The GNAP has been supporting us since 2015 in implementing regional projects. It is our partner in both Assaba and Hodh El Gharbi.

The Organisation pour le Développement des Zones Arides et Semi-Arides en Mauritanie (Organisation for the Development of Arid and Semi-Arid Zones in Mauritania, or ODZASAM) is a recognised local association in the field of environmental protection and the promotion of pastoralism. It has been our partner in Hodh El Gharbi since October 2021.


Brahima Goita
Country representative Mauritania

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