Small investments, large gains: Poverty Reduction Project in Aftout South and Karakoro – Phase II, Mauritania

Market gardening, harvesting forest products and rearing small livestock are a few of the activities enabling women and young people to earn an income through this IFAD-supported project in Mauritania.

Among the activities, a total of 88 income-generation micro-projects are benefitting over 1,500 women and 1,000 young people, who make up more than 50 per cent of the project participants. Participants receive training and inputs to enable them to increase the quantity and quality of the goods they produce.

Ahmed Ould Amar, project coordinator, explains, “Men started migrating to other regions to find a job, and so the area started being populated mainly by women. Women are responsible for many activities inside and outside the household, and we realized that it was crucial to focus on women's main issues: their economic activities and decision-making powers.”

With support to develop their commercial skills, women have also increased their competitiveness and their ability to negotiate with market traders. Cereal banks have been established so that they can store produce and sell when the price is right.

In addition to contributing to household income, they are increasing their role in family decision-making. The women have grown in confidence and increased their voice and influence outside their households as well: about 40 per cent of the decision-making roles in the producer organizations are now filled by women. Amar adds, “We have financed 191 projects, and 150 of them are agriculture-related projects in which women hold a central position.”

“We have developed solutions to allow women to easily access drinking water well inside the villages,” says Amar. Improvements in access to drinking water have made a huge difference in the daily lives of women and girls, saving them an average of five hours per day and freeing their time and energy for education, money-making activities and participation in the community.

The project has also invested in a wide range of educational activities, including literacy training, and sensitization on gender equality and the distribution of labour.

IFAD Gender Awards winner 2017
The Gender Awards spotlights a programme or project in each of IFAD’s five regions that has taken an innovative, transformative approach to addressing gender inequalities and empowering women. This year’s awards celebrate operations in Bangladesh, Colombia, Mauritania, Morocco and Mozambique.