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: '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.
Central African Republic: Life, Interrupted
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
A better harvest leads to a better education for the next generation.
Central African Republic: Feeding a Family
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
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
Starting at the source, we're helping people make the most of their agricultural livelihoods.
Central African Republic: A Devastating Return
Program Officer John Hanson served as a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) in Central African Republic (CAR) from April 1992 until May 1996. He lived and worked for the first two years in the small village of Pata Maraba, about 40 miles north of the capital, Bangui.
Central African Republic: A Sad Show of Hands
Central African Republic (CAR) is a former French colony, about the same size as Texas. Located in the heart of Africa, its neighbors are some of the continent's most unstable and violent countries: Sudan, Chad and the Democratic Republic of Congo.