REACH has been assisting the Government of Mauritania since 2008 in coordinating and implementing mechanisms, developing multisectoral action plans, and implementing and making operational regional and central structures for coordination and government of nutrition. REACH was also instrumental in supporting planning and securing of funds for an area-based integrated programme on food security and nutrition in the South-East part of the country. 

REACH is in its final transition phase of handing over to the country structures, which involved for example supporting the establishment of a National Council for Nutrition Development (Conseil National de Développement de la Nutrition) and its technical secretariat, while maintaining strong UN agency collaboration in support of nutrition scale-up in Mauritania.

Mauritania's increased awareness of nutrition problems has also translated into increased resources available to fight the scourge. A pilot project to operationalise the national intersectoral scale-up plan, developed for 2012-2016, is currently underway.


Since adoption in 2008 of the nutrition coordination model proposed by REACH, Mauritania has seen progress in nutrition and food security.  For example:

  • underweight prevalence among children 6-59 months (6 months to 5 years) decreased from 24.2% in 2006 to 20% in 2009 (Ministry of Health/UNICEF, Nutrition survey 2006,2008,2009);
  • food insecurity ratio decreased from 18% in 2009 to 11.5% in 2010 (ESAM/Programme Alimentaire Mondial-Commission Securite Alimentaire, January 2009 and January 2010, all post-harvest data). 

Main contributions of REACH include an improved situation analyses and monitoring (through integrated nutritional dashboard indicators), the development of a national nutrition action plan, the implementation of synergies, significant resource mobilisation, increased collaboration and information sharing and greater involvement across sectors and organizations.

  • Through the national nutrition action plan, coordinated distribution of vitamin A and mebendazole (a deworming drug) in the South, for example, has reduced resource waste and duplication of efforts. The launch of an improved referral and monitoring system for supplementary and therapeutic feeding was another positive outcome.
  • At the government’s request, REACH conducted a stakeholder mapping and scoping exercise to comprehensively analyse the country’s food and nutrition security situation, including the identification of priority nutrition actions. The exercise helped establish a multi-sector coordination mechanism and ensured that stakeholders shared a common vision of malnutrition problems and solutions.
    As a result, exclusive breastfeeding rates increased from 19% in 2008 to 46% in 2010, and Vitamin A coverage rose from 67% to 98%.
  • These positive results served as a catalyst for holding a high-level advocacy event, which in turn led to the establishment of a government coordination mechanism under the Prime Minister’s Office, encompassing all relevant sectors of government. This mechanism, the National Council for Nutrition Development, has since established a technical working group, secretariat and regional coordinating mechanisms.


© WFP 2012

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