Educating Adolescent Girls in Support of Community Development in Mauritania

To improve the lives of adolescent girls in Mauritania through

Contributing to the Government of Mauritania’s efforts to reduce gender and regional disparities in terms of education and future opportunities

Contributing to an equitable and sustainable development by reinforcing the capacity and participation of girls in the social economic and political life of the country

Specific objectives in the four target regions are to:

improve environment of 28 secondary schools particularly in terms of hygiene
facilitate access to secondary school for girls through materials
increase registration of girls in secondary school from 3,540 (1999) to 5000
reduce by 50% the drop out rate at secondary school level presently estimated at 42.6%
increase the passing rate of 1st cycle examinations, currently at 20%
reinforce the autonomy of 5000 adolescents by enhancing life skills
Project Background

Situation of Adolescents particularly girls in Mauritania

50% of the population are under the age of 18
Girls enrolment in primary education is 83% in compared to 14% in secondary schools
One girls in four is married at age 12, one girl in two at age 14 and three girls in four at age 17
The key assumptions in designing the pilot intervention were based on the following

adolescent girls as a group is unknown and they have particular needs
development policies, projects and programs do not take this group into account.
interventions are partial, punctual, and often poorly identified;
adolescents are confused with children and women;
often, adolescents are considered as a homogenous group.
The project strategy is based on an inter-sectoral and participatory approach. The project plans to develop a sub-regional information network to benefit from similar projects being implemented and diffuse the Mauritania experience.

Within the overall project UNICEF have taken a lead in creation and management of boarding houses, support to social mobilization at the regional level for girls education with an overall goal to improve the success of girls enrolment and retention in the school.

The concept of boarding houses is built on community management and mobilizing families and villages to find solutions in setting up boarding houses near high schools. The regional communication campaigns with local authorities are organised to champion the cause of girl’s education. Training packages for teachers are developed on the basis of an analysis of a survey concerning classroom beahaviour and teacher-student relations. Central to the package will be the theme of gender equity. In support of improving the success of girls in schools UNICEF is working closely with UNESCO in extending the facilities of ‘Reading and Socio-cultural Animation Centres’ to UNF project sites and to introduce mentoring centres for girls.