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.
- 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
Central African Republic: Hadja becomes an entrepreneur
Hadja had never engaged in commerce, and had never had an opportunity to generate her own income — until she joined the Mercy Corps Village Savings and Loan Association.
Central African Republic: A source of strength to continue
Women who have been abandoned or abused find a safe haven at Mercy Corps' listening centers — and the support they need to build a successful life.
Central African Republic: Pride and success for Micheline
Mercy Corps has set up a program to support women, train them and give them a way to contribute for the well-being of their families— as well as the development of their communities.
Central African Republic: My introduction
I started working with Mercy Corps as a translator in September 2008, and then signed on as a Program Assistant in February of this year. Now I work around the country on programs that support women’s rights, women’s associations and justice issues.
Central African Republic: From our photo library
A couple of years ago, someone mentioned that I should look at the photography of Mercy Corps staffer, Jenny Bussey Vaughan. At the time she was working in Central African Republic. The disc of images I received was filled with excellent work.
Central African Republic: Taking a step forward to protect women's rights
Our women’s legal support project is beginning after the baseline study that we completed on women’s rights violations showed the extent of violence that women across the country face.
Central African Republic: Women in CAR: What are you thankful for?
Mercy Corps' Cassandra Nelson interviews beneficiaries in Central African Republic about what they are thankful for.
Central African Republic: Baking a better future in Africa
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: Fighting for their homes
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'
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.