Central and West Africa

Central and West Africa remains among the world’s poorest regions and recurring political crises only exacerbate the precarious humanitarian situation along the borders of the regions.

Ethnical, cultural, linguistic and historical ties between groups living in the border areas in West Africa have enabled populations fleeing crisis and conflict to seek, and find, protection in communities across the borders. However, the capacity of host communities to provide for and protect displaced populations is frail.

The border areas are for the most part marginalized and under serviced in terms of social services and economic development. In addition, the border areas in the region are repeatedly the site of various forms of trafficking activities (i.e. human, drugs and weapons) and often host to armed groups and ex-combatants. This places local capacity to withstand and recover from external shocks at risk. The current displacement patterns and on-going localized conflicts point towards continuation of instability and displacement in the region.

In 2014, West Africa experienced a severe outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), the biggest Ebola epidemic ever witnessed and the number of cumulative cases surpasses 23,000 in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia with more than 9177 reported deaths (source: WHO Ebola Situation Report 11/02/15). The outbreak has had a significant impact on the affected countries, as well as the region as whole, and its impact will continue to be felt in the region for years to come. The outbreak has undermined social cohesion and the resilience of already fragile communities in the affected areas, and in neighboring regions.

Since 2006, DRC has been pursuing a regional strategy determined and shaped by the displacement patterns stemming from the conflicts in the West African region. The regional programme focuses on border areas between Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, South East Guinea, Mali and Burkina Faso. And with the recent spike in violence in Nigeria, unfortunately DRC's expertise has also been necessary in the Northern part of the country. DRC began its operations in West Africa in 1998.

The Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic have been marred by internal conflict and instability for years. Predations against the civilian population and recurrent clashes between armed groups have caused massive displacement internally and to neighbouring countries. At the same time poverty, corruption and the exploitation of natural resources constitute major problems in the region. The majority of the population is left without access to basic social services and livelihood opportunities. The effects of widespread recruitment of children into armed groups and the devastation of the countries’ educational systems severely hamper the ability of the countries in Central Africa to stabilize and recover.

DRC has been present in the Central African Republic since 2007 and in the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo since 2008. DRC provides both emergency and long-term solutions in the Central African region, with a focus on ensuring protection and essential rights for the civilian population, rebuilding their livelihoods, and providing assistance and emergency education to children affected by conflict.