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Strengthening capacity and awareness at the heart of the Congo’s development - In 2011, ACTED’s activities in the Republic of the Congo focused on supporting the country’s development, mainly by strengthening civil servants’ and civil society organisation members’ capacities on wide-ranging topics to meet the country’s economic and agricultural development demands. Besides, ACTED reaffirmed its involvement with the most vulnerable communities, by responding to the cruel lack of basic sanitation infrastructure. Wells and latrines were built, with awareness raising to best hygiene practices. ACTED therefore kept an emergency response capacity, in order to mitigate the health risks regularly affecting the country.
Capacity building as a priority
Whether State or non-State, Congolese institutions are in dire need of training to improve their general competency level. Projects set up by ACTED have therefore highlighted skill transfers aimed at sustainable project development, and allowing local actors to lead their actions in the long term. With its strong commitment to rural and agricultural development, ACTED continued reinforcing knowledge of agricultural practices and local governance in the Mindouli district. Throughout the year, 52 community-based organisations and 40 agricultural groups from the district were supported on a daily basis in implementing projects and making them progress. In a similar fashion, ACTED supported civil servants and the civil society working on migration, an essentially urban phenomenon, of which impact and amplitude on the country’s development are not well known. By conducting a study and handing over the conclusions to the authorities, ACTED helped identify the needs and draw recommendations in defining a national migration policy as a lever for development. Fifty civil servants and 37 NGOs benefited from five three-day training sessions in Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire on the migration issue. Stretched over time, these trainings will help the Congo develop its skills in critical domains such as agriculture, local governance and migration.
Towards improved sanitation and hygiene practices
Sanitation is a national issue in the Congo. The country lacks basic sanitation infrastructure, and urgently needs to raise the population’s awareness to good water, sanitation and hygiene practices. The inflow of refugees into the Likouala department, fleeing turmoil in DRC, has emphasised sanitary fragility. The department being prone to a resurgence of cholera, in 2011 ACTED built 76 wells, 12 collective latrine blocks in schools and health centres, 400 family latrines for the most vulnerable households, and raised the awareness of populations to encourage behaviour change, and to advise against using the river as the only source for drinking water, washing and defecating. In a similar fashion, latrine blocks were built in Pointe-Noire, where poliomyelitis was resurging, notably in primary schools that were not equipped with any basic infrastructure. Such lack of infrastructure and good habits favoured the emergence of waterborne disease-prone environments. Through its actions, ACTED is taking part in the improvement of populations’ sanitation conditions by putting sanitation at the heart of its intervention strategy.
Strengthening capacity, awareness and emergency response
The year 2012 is in direct line with activities of the previous year. The objective is to continue strengthening the capacity of local stakeholders, such as students, NGOs and migrant workers, but also community-based organisations, in order to improve their economic and agricultural development prospects. Through training aimed at developing an entrepreneurial spirit, participants will be given the opportunity to implement an income generating activity. In the same way, community-based organisations will be trained and supported in putting their knowledge into practice, in order to launch a micro-project. Though ACTED wishes to focus efforts on capacity building through the migration phenomenon project and the training of agricultural groups to improved techniques, sanitation remains a critical issue ACTED will remain involved in, while ensuring emergency response capacities.
Partners in 2011
Fonds des Nations Unies pour l’Enfance (UNICEF), Service d’Aide Humanitaire et de la Protection la Protection Civile de la Commission Européenne (ECHO), EuropeAid, Haut Commissariat des Nations Unies pour les Réfugiés (UNHCR), Organisation Mondiale pour la Santé (OMS).