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Since gaining independence in 1960, Mauritania’s political development has been stunted by years of highly centralized and often turbulent rule characterized by frequent coups. A coup in 2008 triggered political stalemate, and parliamentary and presidential elections in 2013 and 2014, boycotted d by the country’s main opposition groups, did little to ease the country’s long-simmering tension. Subsequent efforts to reconcile the impasse between the ruling and opposition parties and to promote dialogue have failed, challenging Mauritania’s progress toward a more transparent and responsive political system.
Since 2003, NDI has provided support to Mauritanian political parties, parliament and civil society through consultations and skills-building workshops, with a cross-cutting focus on women, youth, and other marginalized communities. In recent years, NDI assisted the organization Citizens Standing (Citoyennes et Citoyens Debout, CCD) to connect youth with local, regional, and national leaders through local forums and advocacy campaigns. NDI supported a diverse coalition of women leaders—known as the Group of Advocacy Initiatives for Women's Political Participation (Groupe des Initiatives de Plaidoyer pour la Participation Politique des Femmes, GI3PF)—to open new avenues for women’s political engagement, particularly through stronger quota legislation for the election of women to the National Assembly. NDI also partnered with Mauritanian civil society groups to conduct civic and voter education, including a national voter outreach program ahead of elections in 2013 and 2014 and a program to teach democratic values and critical thinking skills to youth in 2015.
NDI does not currently maintain an in-country presence, but continues to engage Mauritanian partners through regional activities, online e-learning opportunities, and training resources and manuals targeted to their needs.
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