Rebuilding Lives in West Africa

Cote d’Ivoire: ADRA Helps Returnees Rebuild Their Lives

SILVER SPRING, Md. – Civil war persists in the West African nation of Cote d’Ivoire, causing thousands of families to flee their homes due to dangerous circumstances, or worse, destroyed homes. Many of them have sought refuge deep in the protection of the forest or have escaped to neighboring countries, Ghana and Liberia. The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), has implemented a reconstruction and rehabilitation project in a remote western region of the country, making the wish to move back home a reality.

ADRA’s six-month project is addressing the social, and physical needs of victims of civil war in the region of Guiglo and Moyen Cavally. Through ADRA’s project, 5,000 households now have access to psychosocial counseling services, conducted by trained volunteers. Thirty-six professional volunteers offer these counseling services throughout targeted communities, and are equipped to provide psychosocial counseling to members of their villages.

Additionally, with the participation of village members, ADRA is constructing 420 permanent shelters for people who have lost their homes from shelling due to civil unrest. ADRA has placed a construction supervisor in each village who provides practical training to village reconstruction teams. The teams then construct a model shelter to learn how to someday build their own home, and are also taught proper brick making techniques to ensure quality mud bricks are used in the construction process. Villagers are now occupied with making bricks, constructing foundations, walls, and roofs for their new homes.

Kahou Aime Narcisse, a villager from Guibobly took a moment from working on building his house and shared his story.

“In February last year we heard rumors of a war and fighting, and that it was going to be bad. Then we heard gunshots and men were running through the village firing into the air. I ran with my wife and seven children into the forest; we were very frightened and took only the clothes we wore. For a while we hid in the forest, sleeping on the ground and eating the wild fruits, all the time hearing gunshots. I was very worried about my children as old people and young children were getting sick and dying in the forest.

One day I was told about a camp in Liberia that would look after my wife and children. They are still there. For about five months I lived in the forest, but when I heard that an organization was providing houses for people in my village, I returned. I am now working hard to build my house so I can bring my wife and children back safely. I want to thank ADRA for providing this opportunity for me,” Narcisse shared.

Upon completion of building their houses, ADRA is offering training sessions to family members in the area of market garden cultivation. An ADRA agronomist will conduct the training with a focus on agricultural and horticultural techniques, in addition to prepare a model garden throughout the targeted villages. Households participating in the training will receive a garden kit that contains a mix of vegetable seeds, a water can, and two hoes. Through this initiative, ADRA seeks to increase food security and the source of income for families returning home from displacement.

This project is jointly funded by the New Zealand government Aid Programme, ADRA New Zealand, ADRA Australia and ADRA International.

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