Move beyond aid and focus on helping community drive their own development through improvements in water and sanitation, food security, information and education. Reinforce good governance and expand economic opportunities.
The Central African Republic (CAR) has been described by the United Nations High Commissioner as "the most neglected crisis in the world." It's also one of the world's poorest countries. Multiple conflicts, including unpredictable attacks by the violent Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), have displaced about 250,000 people and forced more than 70,000 to become refugees in neighboring countries.
Chronic underdevelopment, corruption and political intrigue continue to fuel violence, and an absence of rule of law prevails throughout the country. Most Central Africans live hand to mouth and find it extremely difficult to amass assets or plan for long-term economic activities. Women are especially at high risk for gender-based violence. Basic services such as clean water, education and health care are minimal.
- Emergency response: Providing immediate assistance to families and orphaned children who have fled LRA violence
- Women & Gender: Operating four resource centers that offer medical care, counseling and legal services for victims of gender-based violence
- Children & Youth: Leading play therapy and child protection communities that help kids heal from traumatic violence and guard against sexual exploitation and STDs
- Economic opportunity: Training women in income-generating activities and start village savings and loans groups
- Agriculture & Food: Working with 60 agricultural groups to promote their access to transport, quality seeds and credit; increasing production of staple foods like maize and peanuts and add more profitable crops like potatoes and onions for improved income
- Water: Rehabilitating wells, building new reservoirs and improving springs that provide clean water to more than 100,000 people
- Conflict & Governance: Strengthening community organizations to monitor human rights, connect with the government, and encourage citizens to engage with local political processes
All stories about Central African Republic
Central African Republic: Baking a better future in Africa April 19, 2010
In the impoverished Central African Republic, we're finding ways to help women like Edwige feed her family by expanding their economic opportunities.
Central African Republic: Standing up for their futures September 26, 2009
I went to spend the afternoon with one of Mercy Corps’ partners for the Women’s Empowerment Program in a slum area on the outskirts of Bangui. The group is called Terrespoir, which translates to Land and Hope.
Central African Republic: Fighting for their homes September 25, 2009
In the Central African Republic (CAR), women’s rights here are few, and the enforcement of the laws is almost non-existent. Most women are not even aware they have many rights. In a country where almost 70 percent of women cannot read, this is not surprising.
Central African Republic: 'I have never seen a place as poor as this' September 21, 2009
I am writing from the Central African Republic (CAR). Not many people know much about this land-locked country slightly smaller than Texas. But the short and not-so-sweet brief on CAR is that it is the second poorest country on Earth after Sierra Leone.
Central African Republic: Video: Fatou Ali gets economic independence September 9, 2009
Central African Republic: Life, Interrupted April 10, 2009
Luc Mbarte was awoken by shouting outside his house on the night of May 2, 2007. Seven armed bandits had entered his village, Bokoyan, under the cover of night.
Central African Republic: How farmers can keep their kids in school January 27, 2009
A better harvest leads to a better education for the next generation.
Central African Republic: Feeding a Family November 5, 2008
Every morning, Sophie Gbellet arrives at her open-air market stall to sell bottles of palm oil, homemade peanut butter, onions, mushrooms and caterpillars — a local delicacy in Bouar, one of the largest cities in one of the poorest countries on the planet.
Central African Republic: Gathering around the well October 15, 2008
People come together to build new water sources that will help the community and the displaced families who have arrived seeking refuge.
Central African Republic: Distributing seeds and feeding families October 15, 2008
Starting at the source, we're helping people make the most of their agricultural livelihoods.