An integrated response for Central African refugee populations

With ECHO's support, UNICEF has increased access to essential basic services that directly affect the survival of refugees and host populations.

Une maman porte son bébé
16 February 2022

When violence broke out in the Central African Republic in late 2020, tens of thousands of refugees arrived in the northern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). With the help of the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), UNICEF quickly put in place a water, hygiene and sanitation response coupled with child and gender-based violence protection measures.

Ensuring access to water, hygiene and sanitation services

The massive influx of refugees into host communities, which had low levels of access to safe drinking water, increased pressure on available resources. Without access to clean water and sanitation, children and families were at increased risk of water-borne diseases.

Des enfants puisent de l'eau
UNICEF DRC Desjardins

Thanks to the construction of 23 boreholes and 2 water treatment and distribution stations, more than 47,000 people in the provinces of North-Ubangi, South-Ubangi and Bas-Uélé have benefited from improved access to clean water. With access to more than 7.5 litres per day, these people, who have also been educated on waterborne disease prevention, have been able to implement good hygiene practices.

Un puit d'eau
UNICEF DRC Desjardins

UNICEF also installed waste areas, latrines, and emergency showers to provide more than 35,000 people with access to adequate sanitation. Some 13,500 people have also benefited from the distribution of soap, jerry cans, buckets, hand washing facilities and chlorine.

Ensuring a protective environment for children

Displaced and refugee children are extremely vulnerable to separation, violence, and abuse. Girls and women are at greater risk of gender-based violence.

Des enfants joyeux
UNICEF DRC Desjardins

About 7,000 Central African and Congolese children participated in the play, recreation, leisure and learning activities in Child-Friendly Spaces under the supervision of psychologists and para social workers. Through UNICEF's partners, 109 unaccompanied children were taken care of, and 87 of them were reunited with their families. Around 100 children in foster care were supported so that they could continue their education.

Deux adultes entourés d'enfants
UNICEF DRC Desjardins

More than 21,000 people received key information on gender-based violence, its consequences and support services for survivors. Through 4 support centres, 400 survivors found medical and psycho-social support - and for some survivors legal and socio-economic support.

UNICEF and ECHO aim to save lives and strengthen resilience mechanisms by implementing an integrated response for refugee communities and host populations.