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UNICEF launches early recovery programme in eastern DRC, Over 30,000 people to receive first assistance in Djugu, Ituri

Kinshasa, February 3, 2009 – UNICEF DRC's Programme of Expanded Assistance for Returnees (PEAR) Plus was launched this week in Djugu territory, north-eastern DRC. Over 30,000 people, many of whom have returned home after being displaced by years of conflict, will be the first to benefit from the Programme’s multi-sector activities.
“The start of this programme signifies an important turning point for eastern DRC” noted UNICEF DRC Representative Pierrette Vu Thi. “While pockets of conflict continue, many areas are now stabilizing with the return of tens of thousands of people to their villages of origin. This programme will provide integrated assistance to help villages recover from conflict and also mitigate a possible relapse of violence.”
In Djugu, UNICEF, along with its NGO partner COOPI, will rehabilitate three health centres, including providing medicine, medical equipment and training health personnel. Water and sanitation services will be provided to 35 villages in order for them to adopt the norms and standards for “Healthy villages”, a national approach promoted by the Ministry of Health as a sustainable way for villages to reduce disease among children. In the education sector, 42 classrooms will be reconstructed and the targeted schools provided with education materials and teacher training to ensure children have access to quality basic education.

COOPI will also work with communities to strengthen the protective environment for children who remain at risk to abuse and violence in return areas.
This first PEAR Plus intervention has been supported by the UNICEF France National Committee who last week visited the area. “The situation in Dala, a village we visited, is dire” noted UNICEF France President Jacques Hintzy.
“Thousands of people have returned to damaged infrastructure and lack basic social services. There is very little assistance to help them reintegrate and rebuild their lives. We are proud to support UNICEF in DRC with this activity, which will hopefully help
communities affected by conflict regain a sense of normalcy and provide thousands of children and
women with a better future”.

About PEAR Plus
PEAR Plus is an early recovery programme targeting places where formerly displaced people are returning to settle home after years of displacement and hardship. It is part of a wider UN Security and Stabilisation Support Strategy (UNSSSS) that MONUC and UN agencies are implementing to help bring stability to eastern DRC and prevent it from falling back into a cycle of violence. The programme provides integrated and cross-sector assistance in Health, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, Education and Child Protection. UNICEF is in the process of rolling out the programme across the whole of eastern DRC in Ituri, North Kivu, South Kivu and Katanga provinces. In South Kivu, PEAR Plus activities will start soon as UNICEF teams up with UNDP and FAO in a joint project
being funded by the Netherlands government.

For further information, please contact :

Pierrette Vu Thi, UNICEF DRC, + 243 81 3330202,,
Joyce Brandful, UNICEF DRC, + 243 81 8846746,,



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