Central African Republic

This webapge aims at providing background information on the humanitarian and education situation in Central African Republic, as well as links to key documents and websites. If you are looking for more detailed information on the education response, please visit the CAR Education Cluster operational webpage.

Humanitarian Situation Overview

Against a backdrop of persistent political instability, low socio-economic standards and weak governance, the Central African Republic (CAR) has experienced increasing levels of violence since the initial attacks against the former government in December 2012 until its overthrow by the Seleka coalition in March 2013. Since August 2013, violence against civilians and ethnic minorities has soared in the northern and western regions, causing fear, mistrust and hatred between communities, generating a dangerous spiral of violence. The December 5 attacks by the anti-balaka and retaliation by ex-Séléka led to an unprecedented increase in violence and the displacement of 410,000 people in the country, including 63,250 in Bangui alone. There are 425,000 refugees in neighbouring countries. Gross human right violations were committed, including killing and maiming, gender-based violence and lootings.

Violence and fear grip the country, resulting in the collapse of the state administration and public infrastructure and a breakdown in basic social services. 2,5 million people are affected by the crisis and children are particularly vulnerable. The protection and security dimensions of the crisis are key concerns. Large-scale displacement, destruction of property and loss of livelihoods have exacerbated vulnerabilities of an already fragile population, and the population movements have resulted in increased incidence of disease. There is little national capacity to assist those affected. These events triggered the declaration of an inter-agency Level 3 emergency for CAR on 11 December. The revised Strategic Response Plan 2014 builds on the initial Strategic Response Plan published on 14 December 2013 and the programmatic aspects of the 100 Day Plan for priority humanitarian action in CAR issued on 24 December 2013. The revised SRP outlines the humanitarian strategy for CAR over the period of one year, while a substantial scale-up of operations must be achieved in the short-term to ensure the provision of protection and life-saving assistance to people in need.

Renewed violence in October 2014 seriously disrupted humanitarian operations, with an increasing trend of attacks against humanitarian workers. This situation represents an inversion of the positive return trends from IDP sites over recents weeks. The recent violence has prompted a significant number of people to seek safety in public buildings, including schools.

6 things you need to know about the humanitarian tragedy in Central Africa

CAR_child in school

Impact on Children and Education

The crisis following the coup d’état in March 2013 has had a damaging impact on what was already an extremely fragile education system.  Schools closed (and many remain closed in many areas) throughout the country; directors, teachers and students have fled; schools and offices have been looted. The Education Cluster conducted a country-wide joint education assessment in late August 2013 to evaluate the impact of the crisis on education. The assessment report “A step back: the impact of the recent crisis on education in Central African Republic” revealed that, while prefectures were affected very differently, many schools have been closed for approximately 6 months making it very difficult to save the academic year. of the schools evaluated, seven out of ten primary students have not returned to school. Fear of violence was one of the main reasons why children did not go back to school. A total of 39% of all teachers from the assessed schools were still absent, for security reasons, lack of salary and lack of teaching materials. Many schools have been looted, damaged, occupied by IDPs or by armed groups.

The escalation of violence triggered on 5 December 2013 by violent clashes between the anti-Balaka and ex-Seleka in Bangui and Bossangoa led to massive displacement of population and further deteriorated the education situation which could lead to the loss of another academic year. The multi-cluster initial rapid assessment (MIRA) revealed that only 4% of the schools assessed are operational and that in the capital a very large number of schools are occupied by displaced people. Teachers have not been paid since September and parents are afraid to let their children go to school due to insecurity.

In February 2014 the Education Cluster conducted a remote assessment of 355 in all provinces of the country (14,5% of all primary schools in CAR). The results of the remote assessment Un saut dans l’inconnu: état de l’éducation en RCA – Evaluation à distance showed that by mid-February 65% of the assessed schools where atill closed, that is 16% more than during the previous assessment in August 2013. While schools were open for an average 22 weeks in 2012-2013, thus number went down to an average of four weeks since the beggining of the 2013-214 school year.

Even more worrying is the that 37% of previously enrolled students did not enroll at the beginning of the school year, most likely due to violence and displacement. The risk is very high that an entire generation drops out of school permanently, with long-term consequences for the stability and development of the country.

Education Response

In this context, the initial focus of the Education Cluster has been to set up ETAPEs (Espaces Temporaires d’Apprentissage et de Protection des Enfants – temporary learning and protection spaces for displaced children) together with the Child Protection sub-Cluster in large concentration IPD sites in Bangui. The Education Cluster and the Child Protection sub-Cluster are also collaborating to develop guidelines for the ETAPEs. ETAPEs provide age-sensitive education activities, WASH, nutrition and Child Protection services, such as the identification of separated children and psychosocial support activities. “If the displaced children cannot go back to schools, classrooms should come to them,” said UNICEF Deputy Representative in Central African Republic Judith Léveillée. “This is the idea behind the temporary learning spaces,” she added.  “As soon as security allows it, the safe and permanent return of all teachers and students to schools is a crucial step on the road to peace and reconciliation.”

Furthermore, since most of the country remains inaccessible by road, the Cluster conducted a remote evaluation (by phone) of the state of education in all secteurs scolaires of the country. This evaluation helped analyze the gap between needs and response, improve the cluster strategy, especially to support the MoE in devising a programme for the next months and adapt the Global Partnership for Education project to the new context.

In addition, the majority of schools in the country remain closed or with extremely reduced attendance rates. Damaged schools need to be rehabilitated and provided with school furniture and teaching and learning materials. Government and community teachers will also be supported to return to their teaching posts, and trained on psychosocial support. The Education Cluster develops and coordinates the implementation of a relevant education programme in schools that are able to reopen in collaboration with the Ministry of Education. A national Back to School initiative focused on the restoration of the education system and a massive return of children to school is planned for the fall 2014. But constant population movements and volatile security situations due to ongoing fighting in some provinces are challenging the provision of structured education activities. The official school reopening date is 3 November. But the launch of a back-to-school initiative will have to be re-adapted to the current security situation.

Priority Interventions

  • Provision of life-saving relief and protective activities in ETAPEs
  • Distribution of emergency recreational, teaching and learning materials
  • Identification, training and support to teachers and facilitators
  • Development of relevant education and life skills content

Read the revised Strategic Response Plan 2014 for additional information of the Education Cluster strategy.

The Education Cluster 3W analysis presents activities of the Education Cluster members, as well as mapping of needs, response (ETAPEs) and gaps.

CAR 3Ws_July 2014_smallEducation Cluster Contact List

For additional contact information, please check the CAR education contact list on HR.info.

Do not hesitate to contact the Education Cluster Unit, contact details available here.

Updated on 5 January 2015


4 Responses to “Central African Republic”

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