Mauritania Annual Appeal No. 01.36/2004 Programme Update no. 2

The Federation's mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity. It is the world's largest humanitarian organization and its millions of volunteers are active in over 181 countries. For more information:
In Brief

Appeal No. 01.36/2004; Programme Update no. 2; Period covered: May to November 2004; Appeal coverage: 11.9%; Outstanding needs: CHF 334,111 (USD 295,200 or EUR 216,500).

Appeal target: CHF 379,032 (USD 284,666 or EUR 243,986)

Related Emergency or Annual Appeals: Mauritania 2005 Annual Appeal no. 05AA030 -

Programme summary: During this reporting period, the Mauritanian Red Crescent1 consolidated its Headquarters' structures, developed a 2005-2008 Strategic Development Plan and hosted the Sahel regional working group meeting on 5-6 October. The recruitment of a health coordinator is expected to boost synergies, created with the Health Ministry for the development of an ARCHI approach. Despite limited resources, the national society actively supported the Ministry anti-polio vaccination campaign in September. The locust invasion also underlined the national society's close cooperation with the Federation, WFP Country Office and other partners.

National Context

Mauritania is a largely desert country spanning an estimated 1.04m sq km (398,000 sq miles). Its capital is Nouakchott. Bordered by Senegal in the South, Mali in the East, Algeria in the North East and the Western Sahara in the North West, it forms a link between Arab Maghreb and western sub-Saharan Africa. In spite of its relatively small population of three million, UN reports show that it remains one of the world's poorest countries with a life expectancy of 51 years (men) and 54 years (women). Benefits from the Chinguetti offshore oil reserves expected to yield some 120 million barrels of oil, have raised hopes of better living conditions.

In December 2004, Mauritania opened its first HIV/AIDS testing and treatment centre with a view of improving early detection of the epidemic in this largely Islamic state where social taboos have since restricted public discussion of AIDS. Besides HIV/AIDS, the country's authorities have also been concerned by the recent devastation caused by the locust invasion in August. Most of the sparse desert pasture has been ravaged by the locusts leaving nomadic herdsmen desperately short of grazing land for their livestock. According to official reports, this year's invasion is the worst in 15 years.

Operational developments

Agricultural experts from nine countries attending a CILSS meeting in Dakar confronted the fact that the locust invasion has already devastated more than two million hectares of land in the Sahel. Mauritania alone accounts for 1.6 million hectares of the infested area2, with August marking the height of the locust crisis.

Earlier this month, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned that up to 50 per cent of Mauritania's cereal production might be lost. Households subsisting largely on their own crop production and livestock herds are especially at risk. Mauritania has appealed for 246,000 tonnes of emergency food aid for destitute villagers and their starving animals.

Concerned about the food security situation in the region, the WFP West and Central Africa Regional Office organized a meeting on 24 November. The meeting drew all the regional country directors, WFP Headquarters representatives from Rome, the Federation and UN agencies. Many of the participants stated their willingness to consolidate and move forward with better cooperation.

The regional programme coordinator held a mission in Mauritania on 1-2 December to strengthen partnerships between the Federation, the WFP Country Office and other relevant partners. The visit is also to assist the national society in developing a contingency plan to reduce the impact of the locust invasion.

Similarly, the WFP Country Office in Mauritania carried out an evaluation of the food security in its zones of intervention affected by the locust invasion. The survey held in collaboration with the CSA (Commissariat à la Sécurité Alimentaire), revealed that the invasion and droughts were most problematic for the vulnerable households. These two scourges had caused immense damage in Aftout and Affolé.

Health and care

Goal: To be present and effective in improving the health of vulnerable communities.

Objective: To contribute to improved health of vulnerable persons through information, education, and communication actions to boost hygiene, vaccination coverage and prevent HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.


With Federation's financial support, the regional health coordinator attended a strategic-planning workshop in September, followed by a development workshop for the national society's projects. Several key partners including Health Ministry officials for Malaria, Tuberculosis and Reproductive Health programmes as well as the Executive Secretariat for the fight against AIDS (CNLS) participated in this workshop.

Several priorities were defined such as HIV/AIDS, reproductive health, infant and child mortality with its principal causes (malaria, diarrhea, acute respiratory infections, malnutrition, and vaccination-preventable diseases). Now, prepared project matrices with budgets are available for submission to interested partners while the national society is in contact with the Ministry of Health for a health coordinator to strengthen its human resources.

Social mobilization campaigns for vaccinations are conducted.

In September, the Mauritanian Red Crescent participated in the Health ministry's anti-polio vaccination campaign. Its volunteers joined the medical teams in community sensitization programmes. In addition, the national society with the Federation's technical support submitted a social mobilization plan of action to the Global Fund for Polio vaccination campaigns. The national society participated in all the preparatory meetings as part of the Health ministry's Commission of Social Mobilization.

Volunteers and local branches are active and well supported to conduct health and hygiene activities.

No action during the reporting period.


The national society responded favorably to the PPP workshop organized in September 2004 after the May ARCHI workshop as the Strategic Plan objectives materialized into projects.


Delay in the funds transfer to support the vaccination campaigns affected the full completion of the national society and the Regional Office's activities.

Disaster Management

Goal: Community and Red Cross branch capacity at Headquarters and in four pilot regions to prepare, plan, and respond to emergencies is effective.

Objective 1: Establish a sub-regional disaster management structure between the four branches and Headquarters.

No action during the reporting period.

Objective 2: Recruit and develop emergency response brigades in four pilot regions (Gorgol, Assaba, Brakna and Guidimaka).

No action during the reporting period.

Objective 3: Develop and implement two integrated disaster preparedness, first aid, community health and social action programmes within each of the four pilot branches.

No action during the reporting period.


The Federation Representative's departure and the lack of a Regional Disaster Preparedness /Management Officer affected the progress of these activities.

The programme is expected to take off with the recruitment of two new officers: a Representative in Mauritania and a Disaster Preparedness/Management Officer in the Regional Office.

Organizational Development

Goal: To decrease vulnerability of people living in Mauritania through improved service delivery by the Mauritanian Red Crescent.

Objective: The Mauritanian Red Crescent Society has prepared a Strategic Development Plan which allows it to restructure itself, reinforce its capacities, and execute programmes which have an impact on those it seeks to assist.

Strategic planning capacity at headquarters level is strengthened through structural support to three main positions, enabling these staff to be fully available to assume their role in planning, monitoring, evaluation and support to branch level activities.

The Mauritanian Red Crescent has initiated a CAS process through a four-year activities assessment and designing its 2005-2008 Strategic Plan/ projects for its various partners.

In spite of its institutional weakness, the national society gets Federation, ICRC and partner national societies' support to cover core costs embracing its health coordinator, finance officer and programme coordinator. The Regional Office is also supporting the position of the Secretary General for one year through the Capacity Building Fund to increase the programmes' efficiency and partnership development. The developed projects will contribute to the funding of administrative costs.

Regional officers are trained in project planning and management and assist in developing strategic and operational objectives.

During the September project planning workshop, the national society's staff received briefing on the Project Planning Process and used this format in developing logical framework for new projects. In addition, the programme coordinator, with Federation support, participated in an emergency WatSan training in Kribi (Cameroon) on 13-16 October.

Three regional branches are formed; seven pilot branches, formerly inactive, are renewed and possess adequate capacity to conduct their programmes.

No action during the reporting period.


The national society has a better-coordinated development plan and working towards a better long-term project-planning tradition based on the Project Planning Process. However, the process' impact will only truly be felt after a few years with Federation's assistance.


1 Mauritanian Red Crescent - refer to
2 Source: UN OCHA Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN) of 9 September 2004

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

In Mauritania: Mohamedou Ould Raby, Secretary General, Mauritanian Red Crescent, Nouakchott; Email; Phone 222.525.12.49

In Dakar: Andréa Wojnar-Diagne, Federation Head of Sahel Sub-Regional Office, Dakar; Email; Phone 221.842.23.41; Fax 221.822.53.69

In Geneva: Christophe Grospierre, Federation Acting Regional Officer for West and Central Africa, Africa Dept.; Email; Phone 41.22.730.43.13; Fax 41.22.733.03.95

This Programme Update reflects activities to be implemented over a one-year period. This forms part of, and is based on, longer-term, multi-year planning (refer below to access the detailed logframe documents).

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, or for a full description of the national society profile, please access the Federation's website at

(pdf* format - 145 KB)