Talibés are in crucial need of protection in Nouakchott
The phenomenon of talibés, children placed with a marabout to learn the Koran, is a traditional West-African form of education, still highly valued by society. However, this practice has degraded in a context of rapid urbanisation, growing poverty and a regional Islamic terrorist threat. In Mauritania, many talibés suffer from child labour, forced to beg in the street instead of receiving a proper education. Nevertheless, no or little academic research has addressed this issue and no political
... rogramme aims at their specific protection. This thesis aims to answer this research gap, not by calling the very practice of talibés into question, but rather by providing an overview of the actions undertaken or planned to better protect talibés in Nouakchott. The research question is the following: 'which measures of protection have been taken so far with regards to the evolving situation of talibés in Nouakchott?' Three sub-questions allow answering the main question. What are the key aspects regarding the experience of talibés (1)? Which measures have been undertaken for their protection (2)? What measures can be suggested to better protect them (3)? Interviews were conducted on the ground with actors concerned by child protection and with talibés and marabouts. It appears that the government has implemented a comprehensive legal arsenal for child protection, but this remains insufficient. Furthermore, society's entrenched cultural practices represent significant challenges. This thesis hopes to encourage future research to break taboos around talibés in Nouakchott, to enable their protection, while respecting the specific Mauritanian cultural context.