UNEP Sasakawa Prize Winners 2006

Cooperative agricole et avicole de Tenadi
B.P. 154
Tel: (222) 525 2866
Fax: (222) 525 2822


Summary of Environmental Achievements

The years of persistent drought since 1973 in the Sahel and in Mauritania in particular have killed 90 per cent of livestock and annihilated the hopes of people who have been living there for centuries and follow a nomadic lifestyle.

In response to this natural disaster and the serious consequences arising from it (rural exodus, desertification, encroachment by sand, loss of flocks and so on), many nomads have decided to come together, settle themselves on their land while creating new activities and to confront a hostile nature to resist and survive.

As part of this struggle, on 5 May 1975 the Tenadi Precooperative Group was created, in the middle of the desert 5 km north of kilometre 90 on the road to hope, by over 200 families, and was recognized and accredited as a cooperative by order no. 222 MDR/DA of the Ministry of Rural Development on 8 May 1985.

Since it was set up, the cooperative has done great things and laid solid foundations for sustainable development:

  • By solving the problem of water by sinking two boreholes with immersed pumps.

  • By combating desertification by improving and reforesting an area of 80 hectares around the boreholes to stop movement of the dunes, backed up by a Prosopis nursery for planting windbreaks and creation of a date palm oasis where a diverse range of crops can be grown under the palms, in particular very productive market gardening produce.

  • By getting agriculture up and running, which has enabled the people to train in new agricultural techniques while at the same time generating income and supplying this arid, wind-scoured and sun‑bleached land of their ancestors, which for years and years threatened their existence by the inexorable march of desertification and the encroaching sand.

  • By changing the mindsets of nomadic pastoralists, whose way of life was vanishing, who have now become settled soldiers in protecting the environment, proud to continue to struggle to preserve the gains they have made and make sustainable development last.

  • By spreading techniques to combat sand encroachment amongst nomadic encampments which want to become settled.

  • By the experience of introducing new crops in a desert environment and by regenerating flora which were becoming extinct.

The increase in the Cooperative’s activities and the attraction it has had for people have resulted in a very large number of families becoming settled all around Tenadi oasis.

The consequence of this has been a pressing need for the gains achieved to be consolidated, for certain types of infrastructure to be built and for activities to continue, including:

  •   Intensifying the struggle against desertisation

  •   Fighting for food self-sufficiency and poverty reduction

  •   Putting in windbreaks and living hedges to protect growing areas

  •   Water rationalization

  •   Expanding the Cooperative’s areas of activity to poultry farming and fattening

  •   Training and advancement for women in the Cooperative’s activities