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The violence that has gripped Central African Republic since 2013 has displaced hundreds of thousands of people inside the country. Many families are in dire straits and struggle to access essential services or get hold of even basics such as water and food.
In the city of Bria, in the province of Haute-Kotto, where Oxfam has been working since August 2014, we are working to meet people’s immediate needs: the supply of drinking water; the repair and maintenance of the sanitation infrastructure; the distribution of food vouchers, hygiene kits, cooking utensils and seeds and other agricultural.
Oxfam is also supporting households and collectives that have lost their means of production to relaunch their economic activities. In all cases, we work with partner organisations which are close to these vulnerable men and women.
“Recovering a normal life after the crisis”
Awa Oumar, Mariam Bouba and Awa Amadou are all members of the Pendé la Kotto collective, which has 12 members, mostly women. They make their living from agriculture - growing vegetables and rearing livestock - and have received support from Oxfam in the form of goats and agricultural equipment.
However, they say they still face problems such as lack of shelter for their animals which sleep outside at risk of being stolen or at the mercy of the weather. There is also the problem climate change with the rains now stopping at sowing time: this has an adverse affect on their crop yields. Groundnuts this year were both poorly-formed and produced a small harvested because of this lack of rain.
Camille Yalingui (left) is President of the Sara Ndjoni collective of 14 members. He welcomes Oxfam’s support for income generating activities such saponification – the process of making soap. He says difficulties remain, such as the lack of raw materials and uneven sales, but nevertheless, “It’s a really good initiative because every member feels occupied in doing something that enables them to survive.”
Monique Wali Sango (centre) is a widow living in Bria’s Yandomo district. The head of a family of nine people, she says the chickens which Oxfam provided enabled her to cover all her household expenses including the education of the two children of her deceased son. She had previously reared goats, but they were all stolen. Thanks to Oxfam, she has now regained a means of earning a living.
Idriss Moussa is the head of the Kenabale collective that specialises in pastoral agriculture and small-scale trading. Oxfam has provided mills, seed, small livestock, tarpaulins, rickshaws and barrows that have enabled the group to enlarge its smallholding to 1.5 hectares and to get their lives back on track after the crisis.
The Mokegba fishing collective, led by Georges Yekondji, benefited from the training classes organised by Oxfam which enabled the fishermen to change their work methods, as well tools such as nets, hooks and even a smoking oven.
Jean Moundjoukpake is the group’s technician. Thanks to Oxfam's support, he has become independent and has been able to leave the family home and buy his own house with the money he has earned from fishing. He was also able to pay for the medical expenses when his wife gave birth to their child.
The fishermen are now looking to develop their business with larger fishing boats and refrigerators to store the fish. They are also hoping to open a sales counter at the Bria market so they can serve the whole Haute-Kotto area and beyond.
Your help can make the difference
Despite some improvements in the security situation, one Central African in five remains displaced. Some 2.3 million people, that is half the population, need emergency humanitarian aid.
Oxfam is working to meet the urgent needs of the people affected by this crisis which has gripped the country since December 2013. With your help, we could do more.
Photos: Júlia Serramitjana/Oxfam