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Responding to post-electoral violence and preparing for reconstruction - ACTED’s mission in Cote d’Ivoire started in April 2011, with the aim of protecting the most vulnerable populations from the consequences of the violence that followed the 2010 elections. Hence, ACTED’s priority was to address urgent food needs of vulnerable households affected by fighting, looting and destruction. To address the willingness for recovery of these dynamic populations, ACTED adapted its intervention to focus on the empowerment of beneficiary households and the medium-term reconstruction of the country. This entailed the initiation of a strategy aiming at restoring livelihoods among vulnerable households.
Emergency food aid and cash-for-work
ACTED responded to the humanitarian emergency in Cote d’Ivoire four months after the outbreak of violence which followed the announcement of election results in December 2010. The activities started with cash-for-work and unconditional cash transfers which targeted the most affected neighbourhoods in the vulnerable communes of Abobo and Yopougon in Abidjan. This project targeted over 70,000 vulnerable people, most of whom had been displaced during the crisis and victims of looting and destruction, with encouraging results in terms of improving food security and access to primary goods. The cash-for-work sanitation activities allowed people to work together towards a common goal for the first time since the crisis, strengthening social cohesion and solidarity. Thanks to unconditional cash transfers the most vulnerable members of the community (widows, handicapped persons, elders, wounded persons, pregnant women or nursing mothers) were also supported. However, the post-distribution monitoring surveys highlighted more profound needs, with a strong willingness among beneficiaries to resume pre-crisis income-generating activities.
Transitioning towards reconstruction
After the emergency phase had passed, ACTED started the second phase of its intervention, undertaking another project in Abidjan to support vulnerable households in reviving pre-crisis economic activities through the provision of vocational training and capital investment, securing sustainable livelihoods for 30,000 people in need. Together with these activities, unconditional cash transfers were maintained to support a further 10,000 people from the most vulnerable households, preventing them from falling into deep poverty and severe malnutrition. With this second project, ACTED began to prepare affected communities for the transition from emergency and reconstruction towards longer-term development. Based on the success of these community-based interventions in terms of reconciliation and the strong links built with the communities in Abidjan, ACTED is convinced of the relevance of this approach in the post-conflict context and is therefore planning to keep working with and for these communities in 2012.
A comprehensive approach for sustainable reconstruction
2012 is a critical year for Cote d’Ivoire, with the country facing a difficult transition from violent crisis towards a return to a more pacified development dynamic. To respond to this challenge, ACTED will implement new actions in vulnerable neighbourhoods of Abidjan, where it remains extremely important to meet gaps in needs in both the short and long-term. ACTED will also use its expertise in food security, rehabilitation and economic development to undertake projects in rural areas of the country. A comprehensive approach will be employed, in order to respond, in an integrated way, to the complex challenges of food self-sufficiency, access to water and sanitation, education and socio-professional reinsertion of the most vulnerable populations, while promoting their autonomy. Social cohesion, which is still a highly sensitive issue in many areas, will be mainstreamed across all projects implemented in 2012. Indeed, beyond the infrastructure damaged by fighting, it is really social cohesion that needs to be supported, as the country’s longer-term recovery will not be sustainable without the reconciliation of conflicting communities.
Partners in 2011
Service d’aide humanitaire et de la protection civile de la Commission européenne (ECHO).
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)