The Islamic Republic of Mauritania is a vast, ethnically diverse, and desertic country with an expansive coastline on the Atlantic Ocean. It is a nation that faces multiple development and social challenges that are affecting women and youth the most. With droughts becoming more frequent and severe, food prices are on the rise, pushing or keeping large segments of the population in poverty. The combination of longstanding ethnic tensions and violence by extremist groups are contributing to insecurity.
Prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mauritania’s fragile economy was heavily reliant on food imports. This situation is being exacerbated by the fact that farmers rely on rainfed agriculture while droughts are happening more often. The fractured educational system is contributing to low school retention and high youth unemployment rates. The continued residence of refugees in the Mberra camps in such a fragile ecosystem is straining the peaceful cohabitation with host communities.
Working in Conflict and Crisis
Mauritania hosts more than 50,000 Malian refugees. The majority reside in the Southeast, a food insecure region where already struggling host communities must share the few resources they have. USAID’s humanitarian assistance supports initiatives to improve health, nutrition, water, sanitation, and hygiene conditions for vulnerable households. USAID works through various partners to deliver humanitarian assistance that builds resilience in local communities.
Democracy, Human Rights, Governance
USAID works with West African regional bodies, national governments, and civil society organizations to counter violent extremism in the Sahel. In Mauritania, USAID develops programs to improve security, promote social cohesion, reduce conflict, and limit the reach of violent extremism amongst at-risk communities.
Education and Youth
USAID provides work and life skills to vulnerable youth to help them find jobs and set them on a path of professional success. The focus is on market-driven technical and vocational skills, then on labor market integration.
USAID supports regional efforts to expand the demand for, access to, and use of family planning services. In addition, USAID works with the government of Mauritania to strengthen health programs in the areas of family planning, reproductive health, HIV, and maternal & child health. USAID’s regional programming is designed to strengthen the country’s management of health commodities to ensure their availability.