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Guetel Moiba Esther Adrienne, Central African Republic, February 2019

For the first time in the history of the Central African Republic, four women served as delegates in the formal peace talks in neighbouring Sudan between the government and armed groups to end the conflict in the country. Guetel Moiba Esther Adrienne, representing an armed group, participated in the negotiations and was signatory to the Political Accord for Peace and Reconciliation. Three other women also participated in the peace negotiations as government representatives.

Credit: UN/MINUSCA/Hervé Serefio




Central African Republic - Dutch Relief Alliance Joint Response - December 2019 - Photos by Mickael Franci

Since 2015, the Dutch Relief Alliance, led by Cordaid, reached out to thousands of war-affected people in the Central African Republic. We joined hands with Central African responders to provide shelter, protection, food and livelihood assistance, clean water and cash support.




Central African Republic - Dutch Relief Alliance Joint Response - December 2019 - Photos by Mickael Franci

Since 2015, the Dutch Relief Alliance, led by Cordaid, reached out to thousands of war-affected people in the Central African Republic. We joined hands with Central African responders to provide shelter, protection, food and livelihood assistance, clean water and cash support.




Central African Republic - Dutch Relief Alliance Joint Response - December 2019 - Photos by Mickael Franci

Leonie Lyalingi (doesn’t know her exact age, but must be about 50 years old) - widow, mother, grandmother in Bouca, participant in the ‘life skills sessions’ organized by DRA partner CPDE.

“We fled the violence in 2013 and lived in the bush for a year, me, my husband, 12 of my children and some neighbours. First, we had no food, no water, no money, no nothing. Then we started working a field and growing our food. After a year, we left the bush and tried to reach a camp for displaced people. That’s when my husband was killed in an ambush, by Seleka rebels. Suddenly, I was on my own with 12 children. Finally, we did reach the camp and stayed there for 18 months. To be honest, that was even harder. Once it was safe enough, we went home again. During the war, we also lost a grandchild. He was selling briquettes in the street and was hit by a stray bullet.

Back home, I picked up my life again, with support of Central African humanitarians who are supported by the DRA. My younger kids went to the child-friendly spaces. While they were educated and had food, I could work. Twice a week, I also started going to gatherings with other women. They call it the listening centre. We exchange our stories, we support each other and we learn. About children’s rights, for example. Before, paying school fees wasn’t a priority.

Today, it is. Just like girls’ rights. Even as a child, I knew that it was wrong that men have all the rights, and women only have duties. But I never learned to speak out. Today, I do. So much so, that families even come to me to act as a mediator and solve disagreements.

I rebuilt my home and raised my children by myself. I had no savings, had never inherited anything – here, daughters don’t inherit. I made enough money by working the land, selling vegetables, selling bush animal meat. And by making and selling ‘ngbako’, moonshine liquor. This is how I refurbished my house and take care of 10 children and two grandchildren.
I feel most happy when I am surrounded by my children and grandchildren. Somehow their presence fills up the holes in my life, left by the ones who were killed.”

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Since 2015, the Dutch Relief Alliance, led by Cordaid, reached out to thousands of war-affected people in the Central African Republic. We joined hands with Central African responders to provide shelter, protection, food and livelihood assistance, clean water and cash support.




Central African Republic - Dutch Relief Alliance Joint Response - December 2019 - Photos by Mickael Franci

Since 2015, the Dutch Relief Alliance, led by Cordaid, reached out to thousands of war-affected people in the Central African Republic. We joined hands with Central African responders to provide shelter, protection, food and livelihood assistance, clean water and cash support.




Central African Republic - Dutch Relief Alliance Joint Response - December 2019 - Photos by Mickael Franci

Since 2015, the Dutch Relief Alliance, led by Cordaid, reached out to thousands of war-affected people in the Central African Republic. We joined hands with Central African responders to provide shelter, protection, food and livelihood assistance, clean water and cash support.




Central African Republic - Dutch Relief Alliance Joint Response - December 2019 - Photos by Mickael Franci

Since 2015, the Dutch Relief Alliance, led by Cordaid, reached out to thousands of war-affected people in the Central African Republic. We joined hands with Central African responders to provide shelter, protection, food and livelihood assistance, clean water and cash support.




Central African Republic - Dutch Relief Alliance Joint Response - December 2019 - Photos by Mickael Franci

Annie Safi – psychologist of the 5 child-friendly spaces in the Bossangoa area

“Our psychosocial assistants quickly notice which children need more care. They refer the most affected or traumatized kids to me. I then provide counselling, adapted to their age and personal situation. We can’t generalize, but I often see that traumatized boys become aggressive towards other children. Girls often tend to shut themselves off. All the children have internalised the violence they have witnessed. The violence turns inside and becomes emotional violence, towards themselves and towards others.

Often, they re-experience traumatic events. There is a young boy, for example, whose parents were killed. He was bullied by other kids. And every time kids treated him badly, he thought of his parents. And he felt the desire to follow his parents. He was suicidal.

During therapy, I try to find ways to discuss suicide with him. In these psycho-educational sessions, we use words, games, play. Slowly, he gains insights that offer new perspectives.”

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Since 2015, the Dutch Relief Alliance, led by Cordaid, reached out to thousands of war-affected people in the Central African Republic. We joined hands with Central African responders to provide shelter, protection, food and livelihood assistance, clean water and cash support.




Central African Republic - Dutch Relief Alliance Joint Response - December 2019 - Photos by Mickael Franci

Since 2015, the Dutch Relief Alliance, led by Cordaid, reached out to thousands of war-affected people in the Central African Republic. We joined hands with Central African responders to provide shelter, protection, food and livelihood assistance, clean water and cash support.




Central African Republic - Dutch Relief Alliance Joint Response - December 2019 - Photos by Mickael Franci

Melly Gaëlle Bido – psychosocial assistant in the child-friendly space of Zoro (near Bossangoa)

“There is this 9-year-old girl who was very withdrawn; she didn’t play with the others. I started talking to her. Bit by bit, she told me her story. At the age of 4, she had seen how her mother was killed in front of her.

She comes here almost every day. We talk a lot. She tells me what it is like to live with her grandmother, and not with her mother. By listening to her, by being with her, holding her, by playing games together and with the other kids, I try to help her come out of the circle of negative thoughts and feelings. It takes time. But you can see how she opens up.

There is this boy of 12. His dad is depressed and his mother has epileptic fits. He has a hard time coping with that. You can see that in how he interacts with other kids. We talk about it. I listen to him. We also sat with him and his parents and talked about this together. His parents lack even the most basic income to take care of their children. So we decided to provide a one-time cash contribution, allowing them to invest in what they thought was most necessary. This, together with the services we offer at the child-friendly space and the psychosocial support, does make a difference in young peoples’ and families’ lives.”

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Since 2015, the Dutch Relief Alliance, led by Cordaid, reached out to thousands of war-affected people in the Central African Republic. We joined hands with Central African responders to provide shelter, protection, food and livelihood assistance, clean water and cash support.




Central African Republic - Dutch Relief Alliance Joint Response - December 2019 - Photos by Mickael Franci

Since 2015, the Dutch Relief Alliance, led by Cordaid, reached out to thousands of war-affected people in the Central African Republic. We joined hands with Central African responders to provide shelter, protection, food and livelihood assistance, clean water and cash support.




Central African Republic - Dutch Relief Alliance Joint Response - December 2019 - Photos by Mickael Franci

Mamy Lofemba (36) – coordinates DRA activities in Bouca.

“The past 10 years I worked in conflict zones, often coordinating and leading humanitarian responses. Places where you can’t find medicines when you need them. Places where people are arbitrarily arrested, human rights are trampled and people are killed out of the blue.

The DRA team in Bouca – 12 humanitarian professionals, mostly Central Africans - provides protection to children and young people. Kids who experienced loss and violence at a young age. War orphans, child soldiers, victims of gender-based violence. We try to give them the medical care and the legal aid they need. We provide educational and psychosocial support in child-friendly spaces, helping them to cope with what they have gone through and to catch up on lost school years. We offer six months of vocational training, which helps them to generate an income.

With our cash programmes, we financially support particularly vulnerable adults, like single mothers, elderly persons, people who are handicapped or have a medical condition. If they’re not able to work, they receive unconditional cash support for three months. Others are paid for skilled or unskilled labour in construction projects, like building a school.

Humanitarian work comes with humanitarian stress. People get killed. Colleagues get killed. Here in Bouca, it has been calm the past months. We didn’t need to dodge bullets. Still, we’re on our guard every day. And being a Muslim woman from DR Congo, in an area where Muslims were chased and killed and where women are treated disrespectfully, makes it extra difficult. And of course, like all humanitarians, I miss my children.

But doing this is my choice. To share what I have in me and to learn from the people I meet, is what gives meaning to my life. To see how a child, closed and traumatized by war, slowly revives again through care, love, and support, gives me strength and peace.”

---

Since 2015, the Dutch Relief Alliance, led by Cordaid, reached out to thousands of war-affected people in the Central African Republic. We joined hands with Central African responders to provide shelter, protection, food and livelihood assistance, clean water and cash support.




Central African Republic - Dutch Relief Alliance Joint Response - December 2019 - Photos by Mickael Franci

Since 2015, the Dutch Relief Alliance, led by Cordaid, reached out to thousands of war-affected people in the Central African Republic. We joined hands with Central African responders to provide shelter, protection, food and livelihood assistance, clean water and cash support.




Central African Republic - Dutch Relief Alliance Joint Response - December 2019 - Photos by Mickael Franci

Mamy Lofemba (36) – coordinates DRA activities in Bouca.

“The past 10 years I worked in conflict zones, often coordinating and leading humanitarian responses. Places where you can’t find medicines when you need them. Places where people are arbitrarily arrested, human rights are trampled and people are killed out of the blue.

The DRA team in Bouca – 12 humanitarian professionals, mostly Central Africans - provides protection to children and young people. Kids who experienced loss and violence at a young age. War orphans, child soldiers, victims of gender-based violence. We try to give them the medical care and the legal aid they need. We provide educational and psychosocial support in child-friendly spaces, helping them to cope with what they have gone through and to catch up on lost school years. We offer six months of vocational training, which helps them to generate an income.

With our cash programmes, we financially support particularly vulnerable adults, like single mothers, elderly persons, people who are handicapped or have a medical condition. If they’re not able to work, they receive unconditional cash support for three months. Others are paid for skilled or unskilled labour in construction projects, like building a school.

Humanitarian work comes with humanitarian stress. People get killed. Colleagues get killed. Here in Bouca, it has been calm the past months. We didn’t need to dodge bullets. Still, we’re on our guard every day. And being a Muslim woman from DR Congo, in an area where Muslims were chased and killed and where women are treated disrespectfully, makes it extra difficult. And of course, like all humanitarians, I miss my children.

But doing this is my choice. To share what I have in me and to learn from the people I meet, is what gives meaning to my life. To see how a child, closed and traumatized by war, slowly revives again through care, love, and support, gives me strength and peace.”

---

Since 2015, the Dutch Relief Alliance, led by Cordaid, reached out to thousands of war-affected people in the Central African Republic. We joined hands with Central African responders to provide shelter, protection, food and livelihood assistance, clean water and cash support.




Central African Republic - Dutch Relief Alliance Joint Response - December 2019 - Photos by Mickael Franci

Since 2015, the Dutch Relief Alliance, led by Cordaid, reached out to thousands of war-affected people in the Central African Republic. We joined hands with Central African responders to provide shelter, protection, food and livelihood assistance, clean water and cash support.




Central African Republic - Dutch Relief Alliance Joint Response - December 2019 - Photos by Mickael Franci

Since 2015, the Dutch Relief Alliance, led by Cordaid, reached out to thousands of war-affected people in the Central African Republic. We joined hands with Central African responders to provide shelter, protection, food and livelihood assistance, clean water and cash support.




Central African Republic - Dutch Relief Alliance Joint Response - December 2019 - Photos by Mickael Franci

Since 2015, the Dutch Relief Alliance, led by Cordaid, reached out to thousands of war-affected people in the Central African Republic. We joined hands with Central African responders to provide shelter, protection, food and livelihood assistance, clean water and cash support.




Central African Republic - Dutch Relief Alliance Joint Response - December 2019 - Photos by Mickael Franci

Prince Zawa (41) WASH expert for the DRA [FLM] in Bossangoa.

“Water is life. Clean and safe drinking water is the start of good health. It saves lives. In Bossangoa and Bouca, with support of the CAR Joint Response, we drilled 10 new water wells and installed communal pumps near schools and rehabilitated 12 broken water pumps. And we built 83 latrines in schools. This helps to meet the international standards of 1 clean water point per 500 children, 1 latrine per 50 boys and 1 per 35 girls. Water points need to be near children. Otherwise, when fetching water, they go off on their own, which is when accidents or bad things happen.

When I was young, we had no latrines and no water pumps in or near the school. We defecated in the fields and got stung by insects or snakes.

Finding a water point can be a real challenge. We do all the geophysical and bacteriological assessments, and still we sometimes need to drill 2 or 3 boreholes, 30 or 40 meters deep, to find the right well.

Building the hardware, like the pumps and the latrines, is only half of the work. Training water committees in the villages, giving them the knowledge and the maintenance tools to make sure the pumps are kept clean and in working condition, is just as important. We call this ‘soft WASH’, soft water, sanitation and hygiene. This includes setting up hygiene clubs in schools, with kids teaching other kids the importance of hygiene, of using the latrines and cleaning them.”

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Since 2015, the Dutch Relief Alliance, led by Cordaid, reached out to thousands of war-affected people in the Central African Republic. We joined hands with Central African responders to provide shelter, protection, food and livelihood assistance, clean water and cash support.




Central African Republic - Dutch Relief Alliance Joint Response - December 2019 - Photos by Mickael Franci

Since 2015, the Dutch Relief Alliance, led by Cordaid, reached out to thousands of war-affected people in the Central African Republic. We joined hands with Central African responders to provide shelter, protection, food and livelihood assistance, clean water and cash support.




Central African Republic - Dutch Relief Alliance Joint Response - December 2019 - Photos by Mickael Franci

Since 2015, the Dutch Relief Alliance, led by Cordaid, reached out to thousands of war-affected people in the Central African Republic. We joined hands with Central African responders to provide shelter, protection, food and livelihood assistance, clean water and cash support.





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