In Mauritania, the advancement of desert sands is threatening homes and farming fields.
To fight the approaching sands, residents are planting a “Great Green Wall” hoping to slow down the process.
The project started in 2007 and the aim is to erect a green wall across the vast Sahel region. One of the challenges is the lack of rain.
“Since 2018, rain has become very rare, and since then, people have been using pumps in palm groves. It is through this method that we were able to protect them. People need to be helped with pumps during times of drought. With the help of these solar pumps, we were able make water available to everyone and meet the water needs” said Salem, a local resident in Chinguetti.
In order to overcome the challenges local farmers have come up with a number of techniques ans solutions.
“What we are doing here is a way to protect the palm groves from the effects of the wind. We surround the palm tree with a small hole, then fill it with water, while trying to protect it with blankets. It is with this method that I can make the palm trees live” adds Salem.
Only about four percent of the Great Green Wall’s original goal has been met so far.
With time running out, the authorities have turned to support community projects to protect agriculture and the environment.
“The program of the great green wall, what needs to be understood is that it’s an integrated rural development program that combines both the objectives of preserving the environment, and the objectives of setting up rural development poles, so as to be able to improve the living conditions of rural populations and especially the most vulnerable populations”, explained Marieme Bekaye, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development for Mauritania.
The Great Green Wall project was launched in 2007 and is now being implemented by more than 20 countries across Africa.
The goal by 2030 is to have restored around 100 million hectares of degraded land.