This study examines the issue of poverty and civil society organizations in Mauritania analyzing the roles these organizations play in fighting poverty, considered to be the primary dilemma facing Mauritania since it was established. This research is based upon a field study, comprising a sample of organizations as well as a sample of the impoverished population, so as to evaluate the economic contribution of civil society actors in combatting poverty. The study arrives at a set of conclusions relating to the importance of empowerment in understanding the manifestations of poverty and the ways it can be eliminated. Field research results further suggest that interventions by the civil society actor are more effective than those of others in addressing the needs of the impoverished. Moreover, the study concludes by highlighting the important role of the state in the development process and the idea that the civil society organizations' role is not to be a substitute for government.