New programme to help communities recover from violence in the Central African Republic
US$ 22 million still needed to finance recovery activities
Bangui -- The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has launched a comprehensive new programme to promote peace-building and recovery across the Central African Republic.
Launched today in the capital Bangui, the two-year initiative, which will reach more than 350,000 conflict-affected people, aims to promote social cohesion, rebuild local infrastructure and create short-term employment opportunities in communities that have seen homes and businesses destroyed by the on-going violence.
“The program aims to help rebuild the social fabric in the Central African Republic, by reducing vulnerabilities in the social, economic and security spheres,” said Kaarina Immonen, the UNDP Resident Representative in Bangui.”
“It will build a bridge between the dire humanitarian situation facing the country and efforts to build peace, community resilience and long-term development,” she added.
More than half of the population of the Central African Republic is now in need of humanitarian assistance, the equivalent of 2.5 million people.
Since December 2012, violence and instability have displaced more than 700,000 people inside the country and forced over 288,000 to flee to neighboring Cameroon, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo.
Cash for work and social cohesion activities will begin in Bangui and Bossangoa in collaboration with international NGOs.
The US$ 26 million scheme will be rolled out in the districts of Bangui, Ouham, Ouham-Pendé, Nana-Gribizi and upper Kotto, situated in the center and western part of the country. UNDP says it still needs around US$ 22 million however, to ensure it fulfills all of the objectives of the programme.
UNDP will repair damaged infrastructure, such as water reservoirs, sewers, bridges and local clinics through public works programmes. It will create temporary jobs, help to quickly regenerate the local economy and create new employment opportunities.
To help marginalized groups such as women, young people and minorities, UNDP will improve their earning potential through vocational training. It will also give such excluded groups a voice in decision-making by helping them contribute to development planning abd connecting them to mayors and local administrators.
UNDP will also conduct awareness campaigns, through seminars, public discussions and media, on such issues as human rights, drug abuse and sexual and gender-based violence.
By bringing together members of communities from different religious or ethnic background, half of whom are young people, the programme expects to help heal differences, improve overall security and rebuild trust.
The initiative is expected to reach nearly 20 percent of the population in the capital and other crisis-affected areas.
Beyond the programme, UNDP will work with transitional authorities and other stakeholders to strengthen the rule of law and the justice system while also supporting a State presence beyond the capital.
Once the situation allows for it, UNDP says it will support the National Electoral Authority, which brings together representatives of civil society, political parties and the government, to help organize national elections.