Mauritania - The Soil and Water Management Programme (PROGRES) - June 2022
A lone man walking along the earthen dyke partially reinforced with stones.
Agriculture is the population’s main livelihood in Ifeih Ould Messoud near the Brakna region’s provincial capital city, Aleg in southwest Mauritania. However, their fields and livelihoods are threatened by climate change and the lack of rainfalls. In recent years, many of the inhabitants of this arid landscape abandoned their land and made the exodus towards the capital city, Nouakchott or into neighboring Mali.
In 2022, the Sustainable Management of Natural Resources, Communal Equipment and the Organization of Rural Producers Project (PROGRES) established a work programme that brought many of the former inhabitants back to their rural homes. The people were paid to reinforce pre-existing earthen dykes, using stone cordon techniques, gabion sills and backfill in order to hold back the heavy rainwater that often covers the cultivated fields and destroys the crops when it does rain. The dyke also serves to store runoff rainwater that can be used to irrigate the fields.
Heavy public works machinery is used to bring the rocks used in this construction project to the site from an area located about 3 kilometres away, and to backfill sections of the earthen dyke. The women of the village work alongside the men to collect and place smaller rocks to reinforce the earthen structure.
Through this project, IFAD’s aim is to recover all of the arable land that was previously abandoned. Once the work on the dyke was completed, the people could resume their agricultural activities with access to larger areas of land for their farming. And with better water management, they could also expect better yields at harvest.
PROGRES aims to empower the rural poor in their sustainable access to natural resources and community facilities in order to improve food security and nutrition, increase the incomes of poor rural households, create jobs and reduce the country's dependence on food imports. Activities target poor rural households with a special focus on women and young people. The achievements gained through this community development initiative are made by the beneficiaries, for the beneficiaries.
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