Started Working in Mauritania
Direct Beneficiaries & Program Participants
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 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.
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