Employment-Intensive Investment in


Activities of the Employment Intensive Investment Programme in Mauritania

Current EIIP Involvement

Due to the major success of the project financed by the EU on the promotion of the Chantier École (2015 - 2017) model for sustainable livelihoods and social cohesion through theoretical and on-site construction trainings, the ILO is currently expanding its scope of cooperation in Mauritania. The ILO is currently implementing a project called PECOBAT (2016 - 2020) financed by the EU on employability enhancement of youth and private sector development, as well as a project financed by USDOS (2018 - 2019) on the sustainable local economic development in Bassikounou Moughata in which Mbera camp hosts an increasing number of Malian refugees. The ILO is also currently implementing PECOBAT II project financed by AFD (2018 - 2020) to upscale the success of the PECOBAT intervention, and a new project financed by the Japanese government (2019 - 2020) which incorporates Chantier École model and also complements the other ongoing projects for the promotion of economic self-sufficiency of refugees and coexistence with host communities.

Historical Information

The ILO successfully engaged in development cooperation in Mauritania to promote the Employment Intensive Investment approach through public services provision in the area of infrastructure development, both in urban and rural areas, with a “Programme de Promotion de la Pierre Taillée” or the programme on promotion of paving stones. The programme used local resource-based approach with the view to developing local SMEs.

The ILO’s development cooperation in Mauritania reached a pivotal point when it first started assisting the government of Mauritania as part of “Programme d’Adjustement Institutionnel du Secteur du Transport (PAIST)”, or the Programme of Institutional Adjustment of the Transport Sector, in 2014, financed by the EU with the view to building the national capacity in the area of road maintenance. PAIST was a programme with the objective to support the Mauritania’s authorities to assure the quality and sustainability of the road networks in the country.

Chantier École – A Model of Youth Inclusion

Within this national framework the project “Chantier École” was launched in 2015, targeting 3 districts: Brakna, Gorgol and Tarza, in accordance with the vulnerability of the population in each region but also the development potentials and the local job opportunities. Concretely, the project helped develop the capacity of national contractors as well as young women and men who participated to work in these contractors in the construction sector. The trainings at the school “Chantier École” offered the participating youth 2 months of theoretical lectures in a national TVET institution, and also the practical application of such knowledge through 4 months of on-site “learning by doing” trainings. The participants were granted a national diploma of competencies after the termination of the project, which enhanced the employability and capacity of the participants to find a new employment, or even to launch a new enterprise or cooperative.

Unlike some of the classical apprenticeship that do not necessarily realize and match the labour market demand, this project provided trainings for disadvantaged and unskilled youth with the professional qualifications that are under actual high demands and such skills acquired through a series of trainings could be applied immediately elsewhere. At the same time, the project contributed to the private sector development through capacity building of the national contractors.

The impact of the project could be summarized mainly by (1) quality assurance of the trainings offered by the national authorities and private enterprises that meet the actual labour market demands, (2) inclusion of the rural areas through opportunities offered for disadvantaged youths in the peripheral areas, and (3) acquisition of professional skills by young people as well as private and public sectors.

In terms of the infrastructure development, 5km of road in total was constructed through the application of the trainings, connecting 12 rural villages which improved the living conditions of the local communities of estimated 52,000 people.

Integrating Disadvantaged Young People into the Building Sector (PECOBAT)

The success of the project “Chantier École” led to the new project on the youth inclusion called PECOBAT, financed by the EU from 2016, which is currently underway. On one hand, it aims at improving the employability of young people and their integration into a promising job market. Through the project, the young people participate in the bioclimatic school construction with the use of local resources in the southern part of the country. On the other hand, the private sector is strengthened through the young people acquiring practical skills, and as such the sustainable economic activities in the field of masonry is achieved.

Leveraging the good practices and the established model of Chantier École, the project offers training opportunities for the young people in vulnerable situations, who are without any sort of qualification. They participate in the trainings of employment-intensive investment methods for school infrastructure construction. The project is building 5 schools with the use of local materials, and it is carried out with the partnership with UNHCR, BPRM, and AFD.

Triple Objectives of the Projects

These trainings were offered for young Mauritanians, Malian refugees in the M’berra camp, and local communities alike, all with the aim to enhance their employability, develop the construction sector, as well as to develop the local economy which creates employment opportunities in the targeted sector. Support for the enterprises in the construction sector constitutes one of the major objectives of the project intervention for the private sector development. Reinforcing their technical capacities is important, but also organizing enterprise networks plays an important role in the SMEs development to meet the infrastructure demands.

In parallel, as part of the support for the SMEs development in Mauritania, the ILO is currently engaging in the trainings of thousands of young Mauritanians in the fishery sector and fishing trades under the project title of PROMOPECHE. The project incorporates value chain analysis as well as the EIIP component of road construction activities to the fishery landing points (PDA) to improve the conditions for the landing, storage and conservation of products.