Described by UNICEF as “the worst country in the world to be a child” due to the high levels of conflict, poverty and sexual violence, CAR is in dire need of repair. 62% of the population are affected by poverty, living on less than $1.90 (£1.40) a day.
From 2012 onwards, this landlocked nation has witnessed mass violence stemming from inter-communal tension and political instability. Infrastructure and governmental systems have been largely damaged, over half a million people have fled the country and around 700,000 people are internally displaced.
Over 40% of the economy is dependent on agriculture, however displacement leads to significant drops in crop production, and creates mass food shortages. In total, over half of the 4.6 million are in need of humanitarian assistance.
For communities across CAR, life is incredibly challenging:
- 60% of the population live in rural areas (UN Statistics Division, 2017)
- Agriculture accounts for 43% of CAR’s income (World Bank, 2016)
- 5 million people are food insecure (World Food Programme, 2017)
- Life expectancy is just 51 years old (World Bank, 2016)
Islamic Relief in Central African Republic
At Islamic Relief, we have worked with INGO partners and interfaith leaders to facilitate the peace-building process and develop interfaith dialogue amongst Muslim and Christian communities in CAR.
In the wake of the conflict, we provided emergency aid and psychosocial care by developing child-friendly spaces in the capital for around 8,000 children in partnership with War Child and local partner Enfants Sans Frontiers (ESF). Specialist community-based support was also given to the most high risk children associated with armed forces/groups or victims of gender-based violence whilst wider community training was provided to recognise and support children’s needs during conflict.
To support refugees fleeing to Chad, we also distributed essential emergency relief including food packs, sleeping mats, mosquito nets and soap.