Integral Members Working Together in CAR

In late 2012 events in the Central African Republic (CAR) triggered an ongoing civil war, which has remained largely ignored by the western media. Integral Members monitored the crisis closely, meeting regularly on conference calls to look at options for responding in a growing and unreported crisis. An Integral Disaster Response was launched for CAR in February 2014 with eight Integral Members involved in the response …

Fateb – Food distributions TearFund
Photo by Niek Stam

Violent conflict has had a devastating impact on the country – thousands have died and over half a million people are displaced. The latest statistics reveal that 2.1 million people are food insecure (that’s 48% of the entire population), 534,000 people are internally displaced and there are 481,000 refugees in the neighbouring countries (Source here). Camps are poorly equipped, and currently more than half of the country’s population are in urgent need of food, water, sanitation and healthcare.

In response to the conflict, Integral Member Tearfund (UK) set up a programme to help the most vulnerable affected by conflict in CAR. Tearfund’s programming to date has included distribution of food, seeds, tools and livestock, water trucking, agricultural and animal husbandry training, latrine construction, water point rehabilitation, hygiene promotion, fish farming, social cohesion activities, church and community mobilisation work and supporting local partners.

This crisis is one of the many ‘hidden emergencies’ around the world – rarely featuring in the media, and as a result chronically underfunded.  Integral is committed to responding in some of the most difficult crises by enabling their Members to work together, pooling people and financial resources from across the alliance to get funding to where it is needed most.  

We asked the Tearfund team in CAR the one question – How have Integral Alliance partnerships contributed to their work in CAR? Here’s their response:

There are two main ways that our Integral relationships have benefitted our work in CAR – extra funding and the design, monitoring and evaluation of our work.

Through Integral we have been able to access a number of different funding streams; including supporting the work of our partner Association Centrafricaine pour la Traduction de la Bible et l’Alphabétisation (ACATBA).

We have put together a number of funding proposals with Integral Members. The most recent was a consortium for the Belgian Government, with Tearfund Belgium and ZOA to support our work in CAR and DRC.  Unfortunately this application was not successful, but we had such good support in the process of working together, and got real insights and valuable learning from the experience.

We also made an application to Interior Health Authority in Canada, with support from World Relief Canada. Again we were unsuccessful, but the support we received from World Relief Canada was brilliant. And we do have a much better idea on how we can work together in the future through having submitted these proposals with other Integral Members.

An example of successfully securing more funding was through Tear Netherlands. It was through their relationship with EO Metterdaad, a Dutch Broadcasting company that we were able to fund a pilot project carried out by our partner ACATBA with survivors ofsexual and gender-based violence.

Tear Netherlands have also helped us to secure funding from the Dutch government. This has allowed us to do three stages of a joint response in CAR, focusing on livelihoods and food security. We have been able to provide livelihoods training, seeds and NFIs, nutrition training and WASH related activities. Water points have been rehabilitated and constructed, latrines built and hygiene kits distributed, as well as training delivered and WASH committees set up.

SEL France has helped fund our literacy and livelihoods work through ACATBA and psychosocial support through our partner JUPEDEC. Women have been supported in numeracy and literacy (French and Sango) as well as basic business skills including accountancy and book-keeping. The training has also seen the building of relationships leading to participants starting income-generating activities and small businesses together.

Design, Monitoring and Evaluation:
Staff members from organisations within the Integral Alliance have made an invaluable contribution to the design, monitoring and evaluation of our work. Claire Burger from Tear Netherlands did a needs assessment in Bocaranga- a potential new location for Tearfund to begin working in. Isabelle Duval, a Programme Officer from SEL France, co-led an impact evaluation of our CAR programme earlier this year. Both of these reports will really help us evaluate our work to ensure that we are demonstrating best practice to support our beneficiaries. They will also allow us to make informed decisions about Tearfund’s work in CAR going forward with potential new locations for our work, especially with the limited funding available for CAR.

Sara Sywulka is Tearfund’s Deputy Country Director in CAR. She says, “The collaboration we’ve been able to achieve in CAR through the members of the CAR working group in Integral has been invaluable. The situation in CAR is desperate. The links formed with organisations responding in CAR through the Integral Alliance is an amazing demonstration of organisations coming together to add value, support and depth to the response in CAR. It has allowed us to continue driving forward this Kingdom building work. We hope and pray that more Integral Members will join this life-changing work going forward. “

Jan Eyre, Integral’s Disaster Management and Programme Coordinator, says, “I am so encouraged  about the contribution of Integral Members to Tearfund’s response in CAR. It is a desperately under-publicised and under-funded crisis. These examples of collaboration absolutely demonstrate the more we can do together to help communities in need. Our hope for the future is that we can provide resources for more of the world’s hidden emergencies.”

Read more about Tearfund’s work in CAR