Rebel groups have been fighting for control of the country and have carried out a series of near-genocidal violence in their campaigns. Hatred, killing, looting and burning of villages has become the norm across the country. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates that 438,000 people have been displaced from their homes and that 2.5 million are in need of humanitarian assistance.
“CAR is a country that faced many challenges over the years,’ said World Renew Program Manager, Jacqueline Koster. “With this current crisis, food is becoming more difficult to raise or to buy. People are eating less. When they do eat, they are consuming less of highly nutritious foods such as beans, fruits and vegetables. This is leading to an increase in malnutrition.”
While World Renew does not have a history of working in CAR, it is a member of the Foods Resource Bank – a collaboration of 16 US churches who work together to fight global hunger. FRB has been funding a local partner in CAR for more than 5 years and World Renew is now supporting that partner to carry out an emergency response to assist those experiencing increased malnutrition.
The Central for Experimentation and Training in Agriculture (CEFA) is a national non-profit organization in CAR that was created to help small farmers improve their ability to grow enough food to support their families. Their focus has been researching and training on new farming methods that can introduce higher quality crops and animals into CAR farming. Because of the civil war taking place in the country, CEFA has now been taking a lead role in getting food to refugees.
Together with CEFA, World Renew will provide emergency food supplies such as rice, beans, oil, sugar, salt and sardines to 580 people for four months. Two hundred and fifty households will also receive training on in improved agricultural practices so that they can replenish their fields and grow new crops for the next harvest season.
“Our world is so beset by violence these days with what’s going on in Syria, Iraq and Nigeria that people have hardly noticed the plight of the people in CAR” said Koster. “As Christians, we need to respond wherever there is need. While this response is small compared to the needs in the cournty, we are praying that its impact on the households it reaches will be enough to help families until peace returns”.
Photo credit: Niek Stam | Integral/TearFund