War Child work in difficult, volatile and unstable countries. Central African Republic (CAR) is one of these places. Staff at our founder, Forward have been fundraising for a project here, through Charity of the Year. War Child have faced several problems in CAR over the last 12 months, which are meaning changes to proposed livelihoods project. Elisabeth from War Child writes more about some of those challenges..
Operating in unstable environments can cause additional issues and in 2012 we faced the challenge of building our team in CAR.
Recruiting field teams can be a difficult process as the job requires individuals (and often their families as well) to move to, live and work in extremely impoverished environments and face the daily risks presented by conflict affected areas; something that the team in CAR have recently experienced the reality of.
Recruiting staff in CAR took us longer than we anticipated but the team we have in place now are doing an incredible job of keeping the programme running and ready to deliver projects that are of vital need.
Our current team Eric, Country Director and Silas, Child Protection Programme Manager in CAR both joined War Child in December 2012. Eric and Silas are currently living in Cameroon where they are planning their re entry into Bangui once the situation is secure enough for them to return with their families.
(Pictured: County Director Eric and Child Protection Programme Manager, Silas)
Increasing instability in CAR
CAR has been facing recurrent political and military crises over the past few decades since CAR gained independence in the late 50’s and for nearly one year now various armed groups have plunged the populations in a traumatic, emotional and psychological situation.
In November 2012 rebel coalition group SELEKA swept across the country causing violence towards civilians, recruiting child soldiers and building up their forces which would eventually, on 24th March 2013, take control of the capital city, Bangui.
The population of CAR, who already face daily struggles ranking 180 out of 187 countries on the UNDP Human Development Index, have been suffering the subsequent traumatic period which has followed the rebel takeover including lootings, killings, brutalities, rapes, and other physical and moral abuses.
Young girls and women are the most affected as they are exposed to physical and sexual abuse. Youth have been enrolled by force in the armed groups before and after the takeover of Bangui.
The rapid increase in violence during this period meant that the War Child team, along with many other NGO’s in CAR had to leave the South East of the country and more recently evacuate Bangui itself after being held there by rebels for a number of days despite support from the UN security system.
So what does this mean for the project Forward are supporting in CAR? It means the design of it has changed. Read more about changes to the project in CAR.