Helping communities affected by the conflict in the south-west of the Central African Republic
Since 2011, the prolonged security and political crisis has seriously affected living conditions for residents of the Central African Republic. Première Urgence Internationale has worked in the country for 10 years and provides assistance to vulnerable populations in a number of areas, including food security.
Currently, teams from the NGO are working in prefectures such as Mambéré-Kadeï and Sangha Mbaéré to encourage an agricultural revival among vulnerable households. The teams are also working to improve both food security and livelihoods affected by the conflict in the sub-prefectures of Sibut and Berbérati by restoring agricultural property.
Agriculture – the cornerstone of the Central African Republic’s economy
Cassava, kidney beans, peanuts, maize – the country’s economic revival hinges above all on supporting local agricultural production, a cornerstone of the economy. In its work, Première Urgence Internationale gives priority to the most vulnerable farming households. Over 63,000 people currently benefit from the programme*.
In these areas, teams from Première Urgence Internationale provide beneficiaries with training to enable them to get better-quality harvests. Teams explain the farming calendar and temperatures to them so they can optimise their crops’ yield. They are also given high-quality seeds and farming tools. Throughout the season, the NGO’s teams monitor the harvest and provide farmers with technical advice. Alongside their monitoring of subsistence crop harvests, the teams have also launched market gardening activities in suburban areas around Berbérati and Nola.
Finally, in Berbérati, Première Urgence Internationale is developing an innovative grain purchasing and redistribution system, buying grain produced by groups of farmers to help them overcome storage difficulties. 25% of the grain produced by these farmers is purchased by the NGO and stored in the warehouse the organisation manages to ensure optimum preservation. Première Urgence Internationale then gives beneficiaries access to this stored grain during the seed multiplication period. The first aim of this agricultural programme is to help to revitalise farming among the most vulnerable households in Mambéré-Kadeï and Sangha Mbaéré, followed by improvements to food security and livelihoods for those affected by conflict.
Developing income-generating activities
How best to stimulate the local economy of a population affected by years of armed conflict? Première Urgence Internationale has adopted an integrated approach to provide a sustainable response to the many needs that Central Africans have. This means that the mission does not focus solely on food security, but also provides sustainable solutions to allow communities to recover their independence and ensure the long-term recovery of the local economy. The mission uses the principle of Cash for Work. In Berbérati, more than 3,800 Central Africans have been employed to carry out renovation and reconstruction work, which will have a positive impact on activities around Berbérati, the regional capital, which has been badly affected by conflict. Temporary repairs have been made to two bridges to facilitate the transportation of farming tools, helping the development of agricultural production.
This economic recovery programme also includes an Income-Generating Activities (IGA) element, such as drying and selling dried fruit and vegetables, palm oil production, and soap-making. These activities have the benefit of giving beneficiaries a level of financial independence once more, something that, until now, they have been deprived of.
This project from Première Urgence Internationale is part of a number of other projects being carried out in the country by the NGO to provide an appropriate response to the long-running humanitarian crisis.
* This programme is funded by the OFDA.