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news | January 20, 2017 | DRC | Emergency

Food fair day in Kolula: ACTED DRC supports food security in hard-to-reach areas

ACTED teams are mobilised to support displaced families in South Kivu, where villages are regularly looted by armed groups. ACTED teams, as part of a project funded by ECHO, provides food assistance to displaced households. 

Emergency assistance delivered by plane to reach landlocked villages in the Shabunda territory

One November morning, over the palm trees of Kolula, in the Baliga sector, we can hear a distant roar. Dozens of children rush out of the houses made out of dried mud and run across the village towards the small landing strip, a simple strip of land in the midst of lush vegetation. The landing place is transporting a load of food. Carriers immediately place the rice, beans, peanuts, dried fish and manioc flour on their heads, heading to the food fair site transported, about a hundred meters away. A large square of bush was cleared by ACTED teams in front of the school to host this fair. Behind the displays made from bamboo that were produced for the occasion, stand the twenty traders selected by ACTED to provide food supply, as well as the teams in charge of the organization. The inhabitants of the 16 villages selected for this intervention arrive early in the morning from forest paths.

Supporting people regularly fleeing from conflicts between armed groups

Women and men of all ages seat out of the sun, waiting for their turn, with their wicker baskets ready, that they will carry on the back, with loincloths knotted on their forehead. In a hubbub of voices and laughs, the “mamans” call out to neighbors or members of their family that they recognize among the crowd. More than 2,200 households, that is over 15,000 people, participated in the five days of fair. Based on the lists prepared by the teams following the vulnerability assessments, ACTED teams distributed vouchers according to the size of each household (for a value of USD 20 per person). After a brief awareness session to explain how the fair is organised, the beneficiaries enter the market, where they exchange their vouchers against food, according to their preferences. Depending on how many bags they have to carry and their vulnerability, carriers help them bringing back the food bags to their homes. Hundreds of villagers return to their homes all day long, with their baskets full of food. Every evening, ACTED teams have to count the vouchers collected by the traders to provide them with payment.

Responding to emergency needs of displaced populations in Eastern Congo thanks to food fairs

This program has been implemented since March 2016 with support of ECHO, and aims to respond to situations of food shortage arising from the conflict in South Kivu. In cooperation with its humanitarian partners, ACTED works with displaced people, returnees and vulnerable host communities.