LWF staff resumes work in CAR after violence
(LWI) - The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) humanitarian team in the Central African Republic (CAR) has resumed its humanitarian and development work after suspending activities following the post-election violence in the country.
Several team members had to be relocated during the violent outbreaks of the past weeks, while the local staff stayed in safe locations. The team is now adapting projects to address the additional needs that have arisen from the conflict.
“We call to all parties in the conflict to respect and protect humanitarian staff called to fulfill their mission in areas under their control”, said Clovis Mwambutsa, LWF Regional Program Coordinator for Central Africa.
“As LWF World Service resumes its work, focus will be put on continuing ongoing projects where possible but also to respond to the newly emerged needs following population displacements due to the conflict where we were already present before,” he added.
“As World Services resumes its work, focus will be put on continuing ongoing projects where possible but also to respond to the newly emerged needs following population displacements due to the conflict where we were already present before.”
— Clovis MWAMBUTSA, LWF Regional Program Coordinator Central Africa
Humanitarian and development aid
The suspension of work was necessary after violent attacks by militia following the December 27 elections. LWF is present in CAR through a local member church and a country program since 2013. The country has seen violent outbreaks between warring factions since a military coup in 2013.
LWF in CAR supports internally displaced people (IDP), vulnerable communities, and returnees in the Mambere Kadei, Nana Mambéré, Ouham Pendé, Ouham, Nana-Grébizi, and Sangha Mbaere prefectures in the west of the country. LWF staff works with its partners to create safe conditions for refugees to return, including peace-building and social cohesion projects, protects and builds resilience among affected communities, and improves access to safe water, proper sanitation, and nutrition services.
LWF staff helps communities rebuild their homes, set up vegetable gardens and agricultural support projects, distribute cash vouchers and improve the communities’ ability to cope with disasters. In 2020, an estimated 150,000 people directly benefitted from LWF’s integrated and multisector support. Since April 2020, LWF added projects for COVID-19 prevention within the communities while continuing previous projects.
The majority of staff stayed
“We made a contingency plan before the elections, so we were well prepared when the situation became difficult,” said Pierre Beaurenaut, LWF World Service Security Adviser. “We suspended our work gradually and provided support for our colleagues to prepare for civil unrest. Our international employees were able to return to their respective countries of origin from where they continued to support their national colleagues. Nevertheless, experiencing this level of conflict is very challenging, and we continue to support our staff through counseling services.”
The LWF team will now adapt existing projects to respond to the additional needs of newly displaced people. “The humanitarian community counts an additional 200,000 internally displaced in the country, including the 25,000 in Bouar where LWF is already planning an emergency response,” Mwambutsa said.