Shelter for conflict-affected communities in CAR

Cordaid has launched a new project in the Central African Republic this week: ‘Shelter Assistance to Vulnerable Conflict-Affected Communities in Koui and Bocaranga’. This project, funded by the CAR Humanitarian Fund, responds to the most critical humanitarian needs of the communities¬†in those regions.

The inhabitants of the subprefectures of Koui and Bocaranga have been victims of successive waves of armed conflict. Just when recovery from one crisis seems to be taking hold, the next wave of instability and insecurity arrives and plunges the already incredibly vulnerable population further into despair.

Returnees

In September 2016, over 15,000 people fled their homes after a major attack in Koui. Humanitarian organizations, including Cordaid, immediately responded to the most urgent needs of the displaced population. When tentative security returned to their villages of origin, many displaced households living in difficult conditions with host families, tried to return to their own homes and farms.

“The loss of harvests and other livelihoods meant that families lost the means to rebuild their homes.”

Marcelin Ridja, program manager for Cordaid in the Central African Republic

Unfortunately, there was barely anything left to return to, explains Marcelin Ridja, program manager for Cordaid in the Central African Republic. “Scorched-earth tactics by armed groups turned numerous villages into ashes. The loss of harvests and other livelihoods meant that families lost the means to rebuild their homes. Those who had fled earlier, found their houses abandoned, uninhabitable and in a state of total disrepair.”

Shelter, economic recovery, and hygiene

In response to this crisis, Cordaid will implement a project to provide shelter, economic recovery, sanitation and hygiene for the conflict-affected communities. 340 of the most vulnerable households in Koui and Bocaranga will be identified for reconstruction assistance, including construction of household latrines and provision of hygiene kits for their new homes. These houses and latrines will be rebuilt by local artisans (masons, roofers, carpenters) and only local suppliers will provide the necessary materials. This will inject much-needed cash into the village economies and provide resources that will help returnees to restart their lives and livelihoods.

“The activities will benefit both Muslims and Christians.”

Marcelin Ridja, program manager for Cordaid in the Central African Republic

A unique aspect of this project is that it will be carried out in one of the few areas where both Muslims and Christians have returned, says Marcelin Ridja. “The activities will benefit people from both communities. The project will also complement other Cordaid interventions already underway in Koui and Bocaranga, including agricultural assistance and water and sanitation support. This way we offer a holistic package of humanitarian services to those who are most in need in areas of displacement and return.”

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