Habitat for Humanity Central African Republic
This program is currently inactive.
As a result of political instability, the program was closed in 2005.
Why Habitat is needed in Central African Republic
Central African Republic is one of the ten poorest countries in the world. The country has been unstable since independence from France in 1960 and in the following three decades, has sustained a series of coups, political oppression under military rule and frequent political unrest. A decade of civilian rule ended with another coup in 2003. Finally, in May 2005, a democratically-elected government was sworn in.
Located approximately 500 miles north of the equator, CAR is a landlocked country with little or no industrial base. Most commodities are imported, making the cost of living very high. The proceeds from the country’s precious natural resources, including diamonds and timber, have not benefited the majority of the people.
During three years (2000–2003) of armed conflict, many houses were burned down, leaving thousands of families homeless. Lack of housing, therefore, remains one of the greatest obstacles towards rebuilding this conflict-ridden country: Infrastructure and public transport are extremely poor or non-existent and high-quality building material is not readily accessible.
Most houses are small and round, have one room and are made of mud and wattle, covered by straw and bamboo roofs that require constant repair. These homes are vulnerable to harsh weather conditions and serve as a host to rodents, which often carry disease. The tiny houses are also overcrowded, as families unable to afford rented accommodation move in with relatives. In rural areas, families have an average of five children, and some have as many as twelve.
How Habitat helped
Habitat for Humanity worked in Central African Republic from 1991 until 2005. HFHC built more than 530 houses in eight affiliates representing 23 rural villages. The program began in the central region, before expanding to the eastern and western regions and ultimately worked in five of the country’s 16 districts.
The houses built by HFHC measure 33 square meters and consist of two or three bedrooms, a lounge and an outside latrine. HFHC used only local building materials and culturally-appropriate technology to build houses. The program actively sought innovative strategies to reduce house costs and introduced various schemes to reach more people in need of housing.
- In 2000, HFHC oversaw the construction of 35 houses for leprosy patients.
- In 2004, a youth volunteer program was developed among university and secondary school students.
- HFH CAR promoted income-generating activities and HIV/AIDS awareness through educational workshops.
Facts about Central African Republic
Location: Central Africa
Population: 3.9 million
Languages: French, Sangho and indigenous languages
Religions: Christianity, Islam and indigenous beliefs
Economy: Subsistence agriculture, forestry, diamonds, timber, cotton, coffee and tobacco