Catalysing Peace Amid Distress and Division – CSPPS CAR campaigns against the spread of COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic which threatens global human security arrived in the Central African Republic in early March 2020. As of June, 4600 cases had been officially detected and there was a growing concern about the devastation that could arise. Due to the latent insecurity, the socio-economic consequences would increase the hardships of a population already in distress.
The inhabitants of Bangui and its outskirts did not respect the governmental measures taken to fight against the spread of the pandemic, due to a lack of awareness and poverty. The pandemic therefore fuels social divisions by aggravating the precariousness of the most destitute. The adopted economic restrictions have a pernicious and profound impact on drivers of conflict.
In order to combat the spread of this pandemic and to promote social peace, the National Coalition of Civil Society Organisations for the New Deal (CNOSC/New Deal) joined forces with the government and other national and international organisations, thanks to the support of CSPPS and its funding from the European Union.
Awareness raising sessions and the distribution of PPE kits were organised in scollaboration with local leaders and authorities
Led by member organisations with proven experience in this type of interventions, including GERDDES, ADBES, JMCA, OJFNCA and ACDD, , several awareness raising sessions were held in the project intervention zone, particularly within the peripheral areas of the capital: Sakaï, Mboko, Bimbo and the Bégoua districts. Awareness across each zone was raised through campaign messages adapted to the specificities of each area and its population. Respecting the restrictive measures, the campaigners travelled to the neighbourhoods and villages of the target groups in order to deliver the messages.
At the end of this campaign, 1000 reusable masks and 250 kits each consisting of a tap bucket, a basin, an iron tripod, a basket and a pack of 40 pieces of soap were distributed to the 27 neighbourhoods and villages concerned by the project. This material is intended to be installed at water points, at the parking spots for buses and motorbike taxis, in front of the neighbourhood buildings or village chief and community leaders’ houses, health centres, schools, churches and markets.
Targeted radio programmes to break taboos and promote social peace
In order to break taboos and mistrust and to contribute to the respect of social distancing and to reduce the insecurity created by the pandemic (and thus, reach a large public in the project area), twelve (12) programmes were rolled out over one month, with the participation of guest members of the Country Team in the studios of Radio Centrafrique, Lengo Songo and Notre Dame. Each radio station produced one programme per week for one month, aimed at the populations of the project areas, focused on messages relating to the symptoms of COVID-19 , the incubation period, transmission, social distancing and care for the sick.
Although convincing results have been obtained thanks to the involvement of local authorities and final beneficiaries, the population's expectations remain high. Hence the need to pursue support actions for a population subject to a 2020-2021 electoral process with uncertain outcomes. Moreover, the post-pandemic period will undoubtedly require that income-generating activities be envisaged to reduce poverty and act as a catalyst for sustainable peace.
- Eloi Kouzoundji, National Focal Point