Central African Republic

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  • Photo: Sean Sheridan for Mercy Corps

Our strategy

Respond to armed conflict and internal displacement by helping to protect vulnerable people and meet their basic needs for protection, water and food. Strengthen their resilience by improving access to resources, supporting economic development and promoting human rights.

The context

Mercy Corps has worked in the Central African Republic (CAR) since 2007. It’s one of the world's poorest countries and has been described by the United Nations High Commissioner as "the most neglected crisis in the world."

Plagued by poor governance and corruption, CAR has been trapped in a cycle of conflict and underdevelopment for years. Most Central Africans live hand to mouth and find it extremely difficult to amass assets or plan for long-term economic activities. An estimated 2.2 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in CAR. Women are especially at high risk for gender-based violence. Basic services such as clean water, education and health care are minimal.

After a violent coup d'etat in March 2013, the humanitarian situation has deteriorated further although fleeting stability has been seen since the elections in 2016. Still, an absence of rule of law prevails throughout the country, and conflict has displaced hundreds of thousands of people and forced thousands more to become refugees in neighboring countries.

CAR is also one of the world’s most dangerous countries for aid workers, making attempts at humanitarian aid even more difficult in an already challenging situation. With human rights violations occurring daily, the need for aid is greater than ever.

Our work

  • Emergency response: Providing immediate assistance to displaced families and orphaned children who have fled violence
  • Women & Gender: Operating survivor support centers that offer linkages to medical care, counseling and legal services for survivors of gender-based violence
  • Children & Youth: Leading play therapy and child protection committees that help kids heal from traumatic violence, guard against sexual exploitation and engage youth in peacebuilding
  • Economic opportunity: Training vulnerable people in income-generating activities, starting village savings and loans groups and supporting inter-community economic projects
  • Water: Constructing wells that provide clean water to nearly 1,000 families, and encouraging proper waste management and hygiene
  • Conflict & Governance: Strengthening community organizations to monitor human rights, support the engagement of marginalized groups and train communities in managing disputes

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