Central African Republic

Situation Report
Feature
Food assistance allows Jeanne to feed her grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and her blind son, and gives her the energy she needs to return to the fields. © Solidarités Internationales, 2021.
Food assistance allows Jeanne to feed her grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and her blind son, and gives her the energy she needs to return to the fields. © Solidarités Internationales, 2021.

Food assistance for those who lost everything while fleeing

Jeanne is 65 years old and, despite her age, is in charge of seven members of her family: grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and her adult son who is blind. She lives in Dékoa, Kémo Prefecture in the center of the Central African Republic where she was born. Jeanne is a farmer and with her family, she consumes all of her crop production. She has no source of income.

In December 2020, during the electoral crisis that affected much of the country, the elderly woman had to flee the fighting between armed groups and the Central African Armed Forces. “With my neighbors, we spent a month hidden in the bush. On our return, when the situation improved, we found our houses empty - our belongings had been looted - and the fields had not been tended. We have lost everything. " Within a few years, this was the second time that Jeanne had to flee. Today, one in four Central Africans is displaced, either in their own country or in a neighboring country. Since her last displacement, Jeanne is afraid that the fighting will resume, that she will have to flee again, that she will lose everything. Like 2.8 million other Central Africans, or more than half the population, Jeanne and her family need humanitarian assistance. As soon as they have eaten their poor harvest, there is nothing left. In the Dekoa Sub-Prefecture where Jeanne lives, half of the population is critically food insecure. In this context, the NGO Solidarités International, with the support from the Humanitarian Fund for the Central African Republic and the European Union (ECHO), organized three food fairs in Dekoa between May and September 2021. The NGO staff first identified 872 most vulnerable families, or 6,033 people, such as the elderly and single-parent households, like Jeanne’s one. They then received vouchers for six food items, including maize, cassava, rice, peanuts, oil and salt. Local suppliers have been identified and the quality of foodstuffs verified. Beneficiaries of the assistance were then able to visit suppliers on the fair site or directly in stores, to exchange their coupons for food. The operation enabled these vulnerable people to cover 75 per cent of their 3-months food needs, while supporting local traders and suppliers in Dékoa.

“The assistance allowed me to feed my family and gave me the energy to go back cultivating my field,” says Jeanne. She hopes that assistance will continue, allowing her to sell part of her harvest, as she has school and health costs to cover for her family.

Solidarités International also distributes food to 418 vulnerable families, or 2,409 people living in the villages around Dékoa. In addition to this emergency response, the NGO also supports income-generating activities in Dékoa, where 75 vulnerable people will get trained in hairdressing, saponification, petty trade, transport or catering, and will receive equipment to start their own business. To boost agriculture, 300 vulnerable villagers will also get trained and will receive tools, seeds and food, to avoid the consumption of seeds. In addition, Solidarités International is completing its intervention in Dékoa by rehabilitating five water points which will serve around 2,500 people, and by revitalizing the water point management committees to ensure maintenance and operation.

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