Tekavoul, implemented by Tadamoun (Agence Nationale de Lutte contre les Séquelles de l’Esclavage, l’Insertion et la Lutte contre la Pauvreté), is Mauritania’s flagship social protection program. It provides extremely poor households with cash transfers and social promotion activities covering topics such as hygiene, nutrition, and early childhood development. While cash transfers can alleviate credit constraints in the short run, these alone may not be sufficient to end the cycle of poverty. The program includes, therefore, accompanying social promotion activities that are expected to ensure the sustainability and cost-effectiveness of the intervention by promoting human capital investments. Tekavoul aims to reach approximately 100,000 extremely poor households by 2020.
Beneficiary households receive cash payments every three months for a period of five years (renewable upon re-certification of the household status). Payments are conditional on attendance of social promotion sessions and made to the person in charge of the daily health, nutrition and education of the children in the household, usually the mother of the children. The amount of the payment is MRO 60,000 (US$ 200) per household per year and is paid in four installments of MRO 15,000. This corresponds to around 16% of extremely poor households’ consumption and 38% of the gap between average expenditure and extreme poverty. The amount is in line with transfers observed in comparable West African contexts.
The social promotion activities aim to improve human capital investments and focus explicitly on women and children. The core themes tackled during these activities include health and hygiene, nutrition, socio-emotional development, education, and child rights and protection. Before receiving each tri-monthly transfer, Tekavoul recipients grouped in Social Promotion Spaces (SPS) are asked to attend social promotion sessions that cover three themes each time. Sessions are led by animators hired by Tadamoun and last approximately one hour and a half. The messages are simple and easily illustrated in practice, and repeated during two consecutive sessions in order to facilitate learning. In the areas covered by the impact evaluation, only half of the SPS participate in the social promotion activities.