The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Mauritania recently inaugurated a new community center in Nouakchott, the capital city of that northern Africa nation. The ceremony took place on November 23, 2021, in the commune of El Mina. Besides local government officers, West-Central Africa Division (WAD) president Elie Weick-Dido attended the event.
ADRA officers reported that the new center was built using 34,000 plastic bottles filled with sand. The bottles constitute the framework of the building instead of bricks or cinder blocks. The thermoregulatory building has three floors and covers 180 square meters (1,940 square feet).
The bottles used were collected by young people of the commune in schools and embassies. Some of them were purchased, officers reported. The project’s required investment of about US$117,000 was funded by a partnership between ADRA International and ADRA Belgium. The center will house medical equipment for primary health care, equipment for a multimedia center, and rooms for language learning, sewing, embroidery, and a library.
Leaders explained that this initiative is part of ADRA’s capacity-building activities through education and training in small trades. “The building was designed with an innovative technology whose added value is the protection of the environment,” they said.
During the inauguration ceremony, André Saenz, director of ADRA Mauritania, recalled the purpose of the center, which is based on three main pillars: “the health of the population; the learning of computer skills and languages such as English, French, and Spanish; and the establishment of a multipurpose auditorium for educational meetings for the benefit of young people.”
Those present at the ceremony appreciated the dynamism of ADRA Mauritania regarding its proximity to the populations served. They also mentioned the availability of its volunteers, the relevance of its projects, and especially its expertise shared with other social organizations in the country.
The local mayor said he appreciated the presence of ADRA in the commune of El Mina and promised to support its work in the area. He added, “My wish is that young populations seize the opportunity of this community center to receive wholistic education that combines the mental, physical, and social,” he said.
In ADRA, the young should find a complementary resource to improve literacy and to help them get off the streets where they are accustomed to begging, violence, alcoholism, and smoking, local officers reported. Oumar Tall, responsible for an association that works to integrate young people without diplomas, said he is convinced that “ADRA represents an opportunity for young people.”
Local women also said they appreciate the availability of ADRA to educate young girls in a context where they are often marginalized.
Weick-Dido praised the efforts made to implement this project and congratulated the ADRA team for their dedication. “I hope local populations will own this center and make good use of what it offers,” he said.