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Transitional Demobilization and Reintegration Program
The TDRP's Community Reintegration Project in the Central African Republic has already reached 28,000 beneficiaries
November 2012
A man stands before the harvest of peanuts  from his fields.
A man stands before the harvest of peanuts
from his fields.

Thirteen months into the implementation of the Community Reintegration Project in the Central African Republic (CAR), the project is improving the lives of targeted communities through infrastructure rehabilitation, agriculture training and equipment, and social reconciliation. To date, many communities in the two provinces of Ouham-Pende and Nana Gribizi in the north west of the country have benefited from the project, reaching more than 28,000 beneficiaries.

In early September 2012, a TDRP team recently carried out the project’s mid-term review. It confirmed that the project’s objectives and implementation arrangements are still relevant and satisfactory, and made recommendations to the four implementing partners on enhancing financial management and procurement processes.

Communities benefit from project activities

Four international NGOs were chosen to implement the project in areas where they already had programs

Four international NGOs were chosen to implement the project in areas where they already had programs (see box). They work in close collaboration with national NGOs and public authorities (for example the ministry of agriculture and rural development, the CAR agency for agricultural development and the CAR institute for agricultural research.)

Here are selected project achievements to date:

  • ACTED has started the rehabilitation of 50 km of roads from Batangafo to Nana Bakassa, including repairing portions where the rain damaged the road and rebuilding bridges. 
  • It also completed the construction of two markets out of 5 planned in their area, one slaughterhouse and a bus station.  The construction and rehabilitation works are being done by community members on a “cash for work” basis, meaning that workers are paid a salary and fed lunch for the period –usually 15 days– that they are employed. As of June 2012, 333 workers had been employed for these activities, including ex-combatants.
  • In Kabo, the community practices ploughing a field with the help of the cattle provided by the project
    In Kabo, the community practices
    ploughing a field with the help of the cattle
    provided by the project
  • IRC has organized several agricultural fairs in the past months during which 68 associations from Kaga Bandoro and 72 associations from Bocaranga were able to purchase seeds and equipment for their fields. Overall, the associations benefit over 6,800 community members.
  • Working with the national agency for agricultural development, IRC organized technical training sessions for the associations to help them increase their yields using advanced cultivation techniques.
  • Première Urgence (PU) organized 7 agricultural fairs where more than 17 tons of seeds were distributed. Beneficiaries included 25 associations comprising 500 members, including 23 women.
  • 20 women’s associations and 20 youth groups were selected by PU to benefit from training in income generating activities, totaling 800 beneficiaries.
  • Solidarités International has identified 165 community groups that will benefit from various types of agricultural support and training, reaching more than 3,600 households or close to 17,000 beneficiaries.

Facing challenges head on

During the visit to Kabo in the North, the mission's vehicle got stuck in the mud. It took about 5 hours to get the car out thanks to the help of local residents.
During the visit to Kabo in the North, the mission's
vehicle got stuck in the mud. It took about 5 hours
to get the car out thanks to the help of local residents.

Delays at the start of project implementation meant that some activities had to wait to be initiated until after the rainy season, resulting in a lost opportunity, notably for cultivation and road works.

Insecurity persists in some project areas, which also delayed project activities. However, the signing of a ceasefire agreement with the rebels of the CPJP, and the departure of Chadian rebel groups from CAR are encouraging.

IRC had to extensively revise its agricultural and conflict resolution training modules to take into account the large number of illiterates among beneficiaries in its zone. It also faced difficulties in finding local partners that were both reliable and competent for its conflict resolution activities.

But some challenges led to ingenious solutions. For example on the road between Paoua and Benamkor, PU was not able to rehabilitate a portion of the road which kept being damaged by the rain. Instead, it decided to build a canoe to guarantee access on this axis even in bad weather.

This may not have been obvious at the start of implementation, but project partners soon realized that the rainy season was not always a source of hardship for local populations. For some, it was also a source of income as they stood at the ready to help unstuck those whose car did not make it through the large puddles. For a fee of course. To circumvent the issue, PU ensured that road maintenance would be overseen by a maintenance committee with community members and local authorities who in turn explained to the “road helpers” that they would be able to find other sources of revenue once the road was passable.

The implementing partners have yet to make progress on the peace consolidation and conflict resolution front. All faced difficulties in identifying adequate partners who had the right skill set and a good knowledge of the local context. Most of these activities are now just beginning, but the partners are confident that they will complete them by the project’s end in June 2013. As a starting point, study on peace building by ACTED will be shared with all others partners to harmonize the approaches. 

Looking ahead

Back in Bangui, the TDRP team meets with partners to discuss the project progress and implementation.
Back in Bangui, the TDRP team meets with partners
to discuss the project progress and implementation.

The transition phase in CAR remains fragile and several factors could negatively impact it: a high unemployment rate, especially for the 18-35 age group, poor socio economic infrastructure, low state presence/governance and lack of positive relationship between the state and its citizens.

The Community Reintegration Project was initiated specifically to consolidate peace by creating local jobs, strengthening livelihoods for communities and rehabilitating basic infrastructure; strengthening community reconciliation, supporting local conflict management, trust building, and public security in the medium term.

In particular, the project targets communities where young people were most affected by the violence in the north of the country.

It is now clear that the unusual modalities chosen to implement the community reintegration project make eminent sense. In fact, this approach could be used in other areas of the country where the state presence is limited, for example in the northeast where the CPJO just signed a peace accord with the government. Relying on international NGOs working in partnership with local civil society and communities is the right way to support a successful transition to peace in CAR.

 

Partner Province Activities

Ouham Pende

- Infrastructure rehabilitation
- Capacity building of targeted communities

Ouham Pende and Nana Graecize

- Livelihood and economic infrastructure
- Support Social cohesion and conflict management

Ouham Pende

- Livelihood support, income generating activities, agriculture and infrastructure support
- Capacity building, conflict management, social awareness

Ouham Pende

- Livelihood support
- Social reconciliation

 

Photos: Ben Burckhart/TDRP


 

 

 

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