Three quarters of Mauretania are covered by the Sahara Desert, making it one of the countries most vulnerable to the effects of desertification and severe periods of drought. The loss of natural habitats and water shortage cause an exodus of people from rural areas to the capital, which faces great challenges in the shape of immigration and worsening environmental pollution.
The consequences of climate change and environmental pollution concern the whole of Mauretania’s population without exception. But while some local organisations and NGO’s are already committed to environmental issues, there is barely any public awareness about the urgent need to protect Mauretania’s environment. This is in part due to a lack of financial support, as the country’s struggling economy provides civil society with few opportunities to become active in this field.
TOGETHER FOR THE ENVIRONMENTThe project “Ensemble pour l’environnement” (Eng. Together for the Environment) supports innovative project ideas in Mauretania’s capital Nouakchott that centre around climate and environment, but also have the potential to foster exchange between different groups in society. The project seeks to instil a collective sense of responsibility for environmental topics. To this end, the Goethe-Institut establishes a development fund which organisations as well as individuals can apply to for support by submitting project ideas that address, for instance, the redevelopment of public space, the creation of green areas, or the environmental sensitisation of society. Successful applicants also benefit from training opportunities in preparation for the implementation of their projects.
An important goal of this project lies in stimulating a whole-of-society dialogue in Mauretania, not least through the project’s closing event which serves to present the implemented initiatives to the public and inspire Mauritanian civil society as a whole. The initiatives are meant to encourage those concerned about the environment or social issues to take action themselves. In the long term, their active role in shaping Mauretania’s living environment as well the positive outcomes of their interventions can encourage and enable civic participation in various political and decision-making processes amongst all Mauritanians.
A project of the Goethe-Institut and supported by the German Federal Foreign Office.