Mauritania is a Saharian country located in the North-West of Africa. The country is entirely covered by the desert; that is why its climate is a desertic one, Sahelian in the South and Saharian in the North. Independent since November 28th, 1960, Mauritania has a surface of 1,030,700 square kilometres and a population about 2,418,506 inhabitants. Mauritania has known since its independence some serious problems caused by the long period of drought of the year 1970 and the extension of the desert which invades all cities in the country. So, Mauritania suffers since the 70s from these phenomenons which affect its development. In that way, helping Mauritania to go outside these problems would be a difficult task that will take years of projects. Mauritania, which is a developing country should have some ways to get out of these terrible phenomenons. Aiming to help our country to develop, as a Rural Development Minister, we will focus our work first, in the environmental level, after in the farming level, next in the social level, and finally in the economical level.
At the environmental level, the struggles against desertification in the country would be an important thing that would have some positive effects. The extension of the desert or desertification is generalized in the country, the situation is dramatic, the desert continues its progression encouraged by the lack of forests. To solve the problem of desertification would be a difficult one because it is the factor of all the recent problems that rural populations are confronted today. So, to struggle against this phenomenon we have to:
Plant trees to fix the sand dunes, it covers day after day many available lands and roads.
Make in each village one gas stop and coalman to decrease the wood consumption because women used to go through the desert in search of woods, for the preparation of their meal, that come from trees.
The struggle against the drought is also important. In fact, the lack of rain is a natural phenomenon that consists a handicap in our country. Only the areas that are in the South receive rains which are not enough for the rural people because the cultivation of land that is the main activity of rural people should absorb lots of water from the sky. Guidimakha is the only region that we can say receive enough water because it is located in the extreme south of Mauritania. Sometimes we can see an area without any drop of water all the year. So, this is a catastrophic thing for rural people, but we are not able to change the natural climate. What we can do for these people is:
To drill several bare holes so that countryside people get water for them, their livestock and cultivations.
To increase barrages
To avoid famine: In fact, the drought is usually accompanied with a famine. So, solving the problem of famine would be a long fight, but it would help these populations to say in their localities. Something has to be done to help these people who suffer sometimes in the drought period such as:
In a famine period, the cities around the villages should help these villages with food and medicine. The government has to do its best to convince these people. However, the environmental education is an interesting matter that should be taught to children in schools all over the country. Mauritania is facing environmental problems associated with fragile ecosystems namely desertification and drought. So, an environmental education programme would be very important in sensitizing Mauritanian youth on ecosystem problems and commit themselves to environmental protection actions. Old people also have to be sensitized by their children who are educated children that can talk about the environmental protection and the preservation of natural resources. The youth and parents sensitizing should be done in the whole country without any exceptions because the youth who are going to be sensitizing will become one day leaders of their country; in that case they will take care of the environment. Although some activities have to be taken in the environmental level, we should not neglect the farming level.
At the farming level, lots of activities have to be done to improve the situation of farmers.
Modern tools should be at the farmers' disposal to improve their activities at the field level
Lands should be given to those who want it.
Some arrangement should be taken to fight against birds, grasshoppers, and some animals that destroy fields.
Measures should be also taken to avoid the cattle theft.
Each village should have one or two veterinarian(s) to take care of livestock.
Plenty of water must be found.
Laboratories must be multiplied to analyze livestock and their milk.
So, at the farming level we have to focus our activities on all these things to make the countryside people and urbanites' life proud of their country and consolidate the relations between villages and cities. In that way, the development of farming can be seen as a way to develop your own country because this is one of the main activities that a country can base to be developed even if this development will take years of activities. Similarly, we have to take priority in the rural society also.
At the level of society we should:
Help villagers to stay in their localities of origin because since the 1970s drought, villagers do not stay anymore in their villages, they come to the cities in the search of food and water. That's why the capital city, Nouakchott is becoming more and more populated; it is also the case of Nouadhibou or Ka褩. These displacements from the village to the city and the city to the village are called rural exodus, only improvement of conditions of life in villages can settle down these young people.
Develop the education. Classes must be created to welcome a big number of students, but also with a library for children. In fact, rural people take a lot of importance in the traditional education or Coranic education. Today many people have children that are in these schools we called it "Mahadra" but, we want to show them that both modern and traditional education can go together so, they have to enroll their children in modern schools to give a chance to their kids hence we must sensitize parents.
Introduce water and electricity in villages so that populations will drink water without any danger and dispose some ways of communication like radio and television.
Create health centers and pharmacies, but also to help people to access medicine with the little money they have.
Reduce women's responsibilities because the drought, the deterioration of the environment, the men's exodus increased their responsibilities. For the women we should:
Give them freedom and solve the problems of inequalities between men and women in giving to women the same rights as men.
To sensitize women in some diseases. As in the social level, the economical one would be a way to help the villagers to invest in banks for their own good. The creation of one small bank in each village for villagers would be a positive one. To help populations to sell their cattle and their cultivations at a good price that will be an advantage for them and customers.
To reduce taxes and grains price.
To increase the production.
To make the best cultivation qualities.
In basing in our activities in these plans, we think that our country will have some changes and also villagers will be proud of the government and proud of being in their own village and working for serving the whole population.
Finally, we noticed that the plans of the activities we wanted to do and to create in the rural area to provide its development are very interesting. We noticed that all these things can not be done at the same time, but we have to take care of all the problems that rural people are facing and begin to try to give some solutions even if it will cost lots of money and take many years of work. To solve rural problems is to solve the problems of the country because the country can not be developed if the rural areas have so many problems that consist a handicap in their life. A city can not develop without the support of villagers. The question we wander is how to find money to finance all these plans.
by Awa Gaye