Liberia: ADRA Continues to Help Improve the Lives of Ivorian Refugees
SILVER SPRING, Md. – Internal conflict stemming from a tumultuous election result between opposing political parties in Cote d’Ivoire has triggered an exodus of Ivorian refugees to seek safety in nearby countries such as Liberia. The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) continues to assist Ivorian refugees through an emergency response focusing on agricultural training and sexual and gender based violence services (SGBV).
Due to the intense scale of SGBV that has been reported in Ziah Town, ADRA Liberia is establishing an SGBV center that will provide psycho-social counseling to survivors of SGBV and mental trauma. The need for such a service is in high demand as SGBV can likely lead to long-term, mental and physical distress.
Other initiatives in the area of SGBV includes awareness workshops for both refugee and host communities, informal education, and skill training to empower the vulnerable with opportunities to advance their livelihood without trading sex for resources, and athletic activities that seek to engage youth and develop an strengthened sense of community.
In addition, ADRA Liberia has developed a program to address the diminishing food source in Grand Gedeh. In partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), ADRA will implement agricultural activities that will train community members’ in basic farming techniques.
To begin the program, ADRA will cultivate farmland that has been made available to them by town chiefs. This farmland will serve as a model for community members, before they adopt and implement the process in their respective communities. The agricultural training targets 1,000 beneficiaries, with a focus on larger-size families who are at higher-risk of suffering from starvation.
According to the Liberian Refugee Repatriation and Resettlement Commission (LRRRC), an estimated 177,000 Ivorian refugees have crossed into Liberia since November 2010, many of whom have sought shelter with family members or have encamped in open air.
Since late November 2010, the Ivory Coast has experienced a steady escalation of political unrest due to the highly disputed election results between rival presidential opponents, each claiming Presidency. As a result, there has been an increase of attacks of political supporters and a rise in human rights violations.