NOUAKCHOTT, MAURITANIA – The United States Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is launching a five-year, $17 million initiative to support the socio-economic development and wellbeing of young people in Mauritania.

The “Nafoore” initiative, which means “add value” in the Fulani language, will focus on increasing young people’s economic skills and ability to earn a living. In addition, it will invest in developing networks and organizations dedicated to providing services to young people.

More than 60% of the population is under 25 years old in Mauritania, with unemployment rates among 15 to 24-year-olds estimated to be 21%,” explained Lisa Washington-Sow, the USAID Country Program Manager in Mauritania. “The combination of unemployment, poverty and limited opportunities can lead young people to resort to unproductive behaviors to express their frustrations.

Nafoore will pursue its objectives through activities that increase young people’s professional skills, deliver vocational education and training, develop economic opportunities, and nurture leadership roles for young people in their communities. At-risk youth and their communities in Nouakchott, Trarza, Hodh El Gharbi and Hodh Ech Chargui will benefit from the program.

Mercy Corps will lead Nafoore’s implementation. An international organization with expertise in youth development, Mercy Corps will be supported by Counterpart International and Ecodev.