Published on December 13, 2022

An integrated social protection model in the Guidimakha region, Mauritania

An unprecedented economic impact

Over the past decade, Mauritania has made great strides in managing its aid to poor and vulnerable populations. Following the adoption of the National Social Protection Strategy (SNPS) in 2013, the Mauritanian government has developed a range of social protection tools and programs to address deep-seated vulnerabilities, chronic poverty, and shock-related food insecurity and malnutrition.

However, these interventions have remained fragmented, with limited coverage and quality of programs, and uneven resources, reach, and results.

Through this joint program funded by the SDG Fund, the three agencies (UNICEF, WFP, ILO) in partnership with the World Bank, under the leadership of the Minister of Economic Affairs and Promotion of Productive Sectors (MAEPS.) The three agencies have mobilized their expertise to support national efforts in creating an integrated social protection system piloted in the Guidimakha region (estimated population of 280,000 people).


Investigator meets vulnerable family. Photo: Pouget / UNICEF Mauritania 2021

The recovery

The result of joint efforts

With the goal of supporting the social protection dialogue in Mauritania, the joint program has launched an initiative to support the government in improving the articulation between safety net programs and in developing tools to strengthen the social protection system in a coherent and efficient manner.

While it has been stalled since 2019, the process of updating the National Social Protection Strategy (NSPS) has been relaunched through the SDG Funds. Following a joint advocacy process put in place by UNICEF, WFP, ILO, in partnership with the World Bank and other technical and financial partners, the social protection coordination mechanism has finally been reactivated and capacity building programs relaunched.

This means a lot for the population, in particular the strengthening of the referral system of social protection beneficiaries to the rights holders, the strengthening of the link between the demand and the supply of services in terms of vaccination, access to civil status documents, or even the referral of cases of severe acute malnutrition.

Thus, significant achievements in the articulation, harmonization and coherence of social safety net programs have been observed. Among the achievements, the establishment of a coordination platform at the central and regional levels, which allowed for discussion of social protection challenges in Mauritania, and in Guidimakha in particular, as well as the joint search for adequate solutions through information sharing and joint support to the government in conducting studies and joint missions. The three agencies, in collaboration with the World Bank, have continued to advocate for the inclusion of the most vulnerable people in social protection services such as health insurance, education, civil status, balanced nutrition, and cash transfers.

Welding in times of pandemic

WFP has been able to implement "suddenness + COVID" support throughout the Wilaya through cash distributions to the most vulnerable populations (40,000 people in 2021 and 100,000 in 2022). It has endeavored to synergize its action with UNICEF's health/nutrition support as well as the ILO's support for the disabled in the common territories. In addition, in order to optimize the articulation of social safety nets, it has undertaken a study to seek all possible synergies between the various social protection programs active in a given area, which has led all stakeholders to want - as a first step - to grant exclusive access to Temwin stores (basic foodstuffs at subsidized prices) for one day a week to the beneficiaries of the Tekavoul program (ongoing support to the most vulnerable)

Affiliation of persons living with disabilities and their dependents to the compulsory health insurance

As part of the COVID-19 response, the Secretariat of the Common Fund for the SDGs decided in March 2020, the reuse of funds for the COVID-19 response under the LNOB by approving the possibility of reallocating up to 20% of existing Joint Program (JP) funds to social protection/pandemic response.

The main objective is to provide flexible but targeted support to mitigate the impact on vulnerable groups, in line with existing Joint Program strategies for vulnerable groups. Thus, the ILO, through the Integrated Social Protection System Development Project (SGD Fund), has committed to support one aspect of the project, which is to cover the annual contribution of 300 disabled people in this project area.

This ILO support has enabled the integration of 300 disabled people from 18 municipalities in Guidimakha into the

Guidimakha into the compulsory health insurance system through the National Health Insurance Fund (CNAM). The affiliation cards of people living with disabilities and their dependents were distributed during the ceremony organized by MASEF in the presence of regional authorities, beneficiaries and representatives of ILO, WFP and UNICEF in July 2021, making them fully insured and entitled to all health insurance benefits.

ILO's Social Security Survey

The ILO social security survey carried out for the first time in Mauritania was launched on Tuesday, October 20, 2020, under the supervision of the focal point of the joint program representing the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Promotion of Productive Sectors in the presence of representatives, Civil Service and Labor, Health, Social Affairs, as well as social protection institutions such as CNSS, TAAZOUR, or the National Fund for Health Insurance (CNAM), the Office of Occupational Medicine (ONMT) and agencies responsible for the joint program (UNICEF, WFP and ILO).


Photo: Pouget / UNICEF Mauritania 2021


(CNAM), the Office of Occupational Medicine (ONMT) and the agencies in charge of the joint program (UNICEF, WFP and ILO).

The results of this survey, validated on March 30, 2021 by the various stakeholders, made it possible to draw up an inventory of the contributory and non-contributory social protection schemes. For each scheme, financial data and the number of people receiving benefits were extracted. The results of the survey were used to calculate SDG indicators, in particular indicator 1.3, which is essential for the development of the National Social Protection Strategy currently being revised.

In addition, the survey data for Mauritania was verified and validated by the ILO Social Protection Department (SOCPRO) and published in the ILO World Social Protection Report, 2020-2022, which is a first for this country, thanks to the support of the joint program and the effective collaboration of ministerial departments and social protection institutions.