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The Central African Republic (CAR) is recovering from violence and armed conflict that broke out in 2013 and left nearly one million people displaced and 6,000 killed. A transitional government organized largely peaceful elections in late 2015 and early 2016 to approve a new constitution and elect a president and National Assembly. One of CAR’s top priorities is to undertake reconciliation efforts and ensure a widespread and lasting peace. Since 2014, NDI has assisted grassroots civil society organizations in CAR to stimulate discussion of shared democratic values and foster peaceful intergroup relations among marginalized and conflict-affected Central African communities. NDI’s three civic partners -- Women, Action and Development in Central Africa (FADEC), the Central African League for Human Rights (LCDH), and the Central African Organization for the Promotion of Riverine Initiatives (OCAPIF) -- have together established more than 45 local peace and reconciliation committees in communities in and around Bangui, Lobaye prefecture, and Nana-Mambéré prefecture. These committees, each comprising a representative cross-section of citizens committed to conflict prevention, are a mechanism for proactively mitigating conflict at the community level. Among other accomplishments, they have negotiated access to a health clinic for a minority pygmy population that had previously had limited access; convinced teachers and doctors to provide services without prejudice to returning refugees; and held reconciliation ceremonies that brought together leaders who were previously in conflict. NDI and its partners have assisted more than a dozen communities to hold forums in which citizens discussed their main concerns and suggested possible solutions. The committees in these locations are holding regular follow-up meetings with local decision-makers -- traditional leaders, mayors, prefects and others -- to ensure that these concerns and recommendations are addressed. FADEC, LCDH and OCAPIF are also advocating for the integration of these local priorities in national-level decision-making through advocacy at the National Assembly.
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