Mauritania High Risk YouthMembers of  Legacy International’s Teams of Excellence, Jon Winder and Lorraine Warren, recently conducted a forum in Nouakchott, Mauritania called,”Working with High Risk Youth.”

This training developed capacity building among key people working with youth in Mauritania and helped to coordinate regional efforts focusing on the needs of high risk youth. Jon Winder’s presentation, titled “From High Risk to Resiliency: Creating a Future for Mauritania’s Youth” included some of the most recent information on the development of the adolescent brain.

A total of 45 participants worked diligently for 3 days to define the needs of youth, to learn more effective ways of project management, and build a nationwide coalition.

15 of these Mauritanian professionals had previously visited the United States to explore  model high risk youth  programs in Los Angeles, Dallas, Washington, D.C.,. and Jacksonville.

Some of the projects that the participants addresssed in the forum were:

  • domestic violence against women
  • school discipline
  • juvenile justice diversion
  • child nutrition
  • developing sports leadership
  • pre-natal care.

One of the interesting challenges of the workshop was that half of the professionals spoke French, half spoke Arabic and the presenters spoke English, so that everything had to be translated through earphones.  Overall, the participants were very grateful for the training and the reviews were very positive.

Mauritania Professionals discuss Youth at Risk
While there, Jon and Lorraine were also given the opportunity to speak to a graduating class from the National Center of Training Senior Executive on Youth and Sports and to tour a domestic violence program for women.  They also toured a rehabilitation center for displaced children and children who were being diverted from the legal system.  Of special interest was their garden which was producing wonderful vegetables that were grown utilizing drip irrigation and planted in rice, (since there is no soil in that region), and yet the vegetables were huge!

Legacy was able to contribute some very basic hands-on approaches to helping the youth of Mauritania and is very grateful to Meridian International Center for their participation, and the US Embassy in Mauritania who sponsored the forum and were wonderful hosts.