The benefits of heliothermy beneath the Mauritanian sun

By installing a thousand solar cookers in Mauritania, the "Les Nomades de Mauritanie" association is endeavouring to improve the living conditions of locals while reducing their exposure to toxic fumes and combating deforestation. How to kill three birds with one stone!

Humanitarian and Development

Zouerate, Region of Tiris Zemmour, Mauritania

Florianne Royer

20,000 € to the Selection Committee at 2005/05/31
  Project leader Les nomades de Mauritania

«  I met the association's chairwoman, Jeanine Amelo, a 71-year-old with boundless energy! She told me all about the association's origins and what it was striving to achieve. Needless to say, I was immediately convinced. Also, for this kind of project to be a success, it is vital for local populations to become involved so as to prevent any risk of dependency on humanitarian aid and this seems to have been achieved. »

Florianne Royer

Since 2002, the "Les Nomades de Mauritanie" association, based in Couëron in the Loire-Atlantique region of France, has been active in a wide range of economic, educational, and environmental projects aimed at improving the living conditions of local populations.
Its latest project, "Beneath the Mauritanian sun" concerns 27,000 residents of the impoverished outlying districts of the city of Zouérate, in the region of Tiris Zemmour.
It entails construction of solar cookers (wooden cookers powered by a greenhouse effect) enabling meals to be cooked and water boiled (to make it safe to drink), without burning wood, as well as the installation of solar panels for electricity supply. The project provides major social, environmental and medical benefits.
Social, to the extent that solar cookers improve the living conditions of Mauritanian women who are often excluded from education due to their laborious household duties, including the daily chore of collecting wood for heating. Environmental, by ending deforestation in the region which has seen its plant cover wiped out by several years of drought, an issue which is of great concern to the local authorities. Medical, since the installation of solar cookers enables improvements to the health of local populations which are frequently exposed to toxic fumes within households.

Commitment from local authorities

The "Les Nomades de Mauritanie" association has already conducted a feasibility study. A technical information conference, backed by explanatory slides, was even held at the project site for an audience of over 100. In this respect, the association received valuable assistance from another organisation based in the nearby city of Nantes, Bolivia Inti (present in Latin America and already funded by the Veolia foundation), which trained four volunteers in solar energy technology. Another symbol of this project's success: involvement of the local authorities and, in particular, the municipality of Wali, the region's governor, the Mauritanian association AALPTZ (association to combat poverty in Tiris Zemmour), as well as the institutional committee for environmental affairs.
To ensure the success of this far-reaching project, the Veolia foundation has decided to provide the "Les Nomades de Mauritanie" association with funding of 20,000 euros.