Project Title: Strengthening Civil Society’s Capacity To Serve Marginalized Groups In Mauritania
Years: September 2014 – June 2016
Donor: ABA ROLI
Stateless people and former slaves comprise the majority of marginalized populations in Mauritania. These groups lack basic legal, economic, and cultural rights, and don’t have access to information about how to obtain these rights.
To tackle this problem, Search For Common Ground – Morocco, the American Bar Association – Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) and a local partner, Centre 4s, are offering trainings to local civil society representatives on non-adversarial advocacy. The goal of the trainings is to expand the political participation of Mauritanian civil society organizations and increase collaboration between them, in order to promote the rights of marginalized populations. The techniques taught during the trainings include coordinated advocacy, media campaigns, and impact litigation.
Search – Morocco and Centre 4s are also organizing workshops on the deconstruction of stereotypes in Mauritanian communities and facilitating networking events among civil society organizations in Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia. Given the diversity of cultures among Mauritanian civil society representatives, Search – Morocco focused the first workshops not exclusively on the breaking down of stereotypes in Mauritanian society, but also on the creation of collaborative networks and concrete strategic plans.
One of the highlights of the project has been the Regional Women’s Rights Workshop in Tunisia, attended by three Mauritanian civil society groups (Development Initiative, El Karamat, and the Committee of Solidarity with the Victims of Human Rights Violations). During the workshop, they learned about the role of women in regional dialogue and advocacy and discussed a collaborative women’s agenda in MENA countries.
Ultimately, the program seeks to contribute to the creation of a mobilized, empowered Mauritanian civil society capable of taking action to improve the capacity of returnees, the stateless, and current or former victims of slavery to acquire national identity and citizenship documents, to access basic services like education and healthcare, and to obtain justice..