Mauritania: Making the Triangle of Poverty a Triangle of Hope

Traveling across West Africa, World Vision communications manager Jonathan Bundu is collecting stories of women and children impacted by the current drought and food crisis. Below are reflections from his time in Mauritania, in a region called the Triangle of Poverty.

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My sojourn took me to an area called the Triangle of Poverty. First, let me explain it so that you will have an understanding of the name.

The Traingle of Poverty shares three regions within Mauritania: Brakna, Assaba, and Gorgol. A lack of long-term development in this area means that 95 percent of the population lives exclusively on agriculture, dependent on rainfall.

With little rainfall across West Africa this year, many farmers watched desperately as their fields dried and their crops failed. The lucky ones were able to harvest a little in late December. The sorghum and bean harvest have finished, and households that have no migrant workers to send them money find it too difficult to eat.

Many children under 5 are moderately malnourished. Community health workers say there is fear that if no action is taken, many more children will fall into severe malnutrition.

In Mauritania's Triangle of Poverty, some women must travel up to five miles to reach safe drinking water. (Photo: Jonathan Bundu/World Vision)

The current government is determined to bring drastic changes to the people in this area, with the goal of changing the Triangle of Poverty into the Triangle of Hope.

Committed to their word, I was amazed in the evening to see that there is light in Berkeol District. Wow! Most other rural communities do not have electric lights. As we drove into other areas, road construction was presently going on.

World Vision is responsive to the situation and is joining the current government in its efforts. In less than two years, five communities have been able to access safe drinking water, thanks to the work of World Vision. In the past, these communities used to travel up to five miles to access the nearest safe drinking water source.

World Vision has also helped eradicate guinea worm disease, which is caused by drinking contaminated water. Our teams are training maternal and child health aides there, along with providing medication and conducting an awareness campaign. World Vision has embarked on an assessment to identify cases of malnutrition among children under 5, with the aim of opening centers in the worst-affected areas to help communities manage malnutrition at the community level.

World Vision, together with our partners -- including governments, the World Food Program, UNICEF, and the Food and Agriculture Organization -- aims to support more than 1.7 million people affected by the food crisis in West Africa, including more than 100,000 children.

Consider making a one-time gift to help provide life-saving food and care to hungry children. Your donation will help deliver emergency food aid, agricultural support, and more to vulnerable children and families in places like West Africa. Or, give monthly to provide ongoing support to children affected by hunger around the world.

Read our West Africa food crisis FAQs to learn more about this emergency and how we are responding.

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