The crisis in the Central African Republic, exacerbated by conflict related to religious tensions, has rapidly deteriorated in recent months. According to a WFP/FAO report, the crisis has devastated the country’s economy and livelihoods of its people due to the loss of food, crops, livestock and more. WFP Chief Economist Arif Husain sums up the situation saying, “The economy of C.A.R. is on its knees, and the agriculture sector, which is the backbone of the country’s economic life, is devastated. In 2013 alone, food production was down by more than a third; cash crop production by almost half; and livestock by more than half.”
More than 628,000 people are displaced within the Central African Republic, and nearly 346,000 have fled to other countries in the region. In March, WFP reached nearly 172,000 people with critical emergency food assistance. But, more assistance is needed as the rainy season continues and makes it more difficult to reach many of those in need.
These tools can help you begin to teach your students the complex situation.
“C.A.R. Can’t Wait” Crisis Page
With crises in other countries often grabbing the headlines, the Central African Republic has largely stayed out of the spotlight. However, the situation is severe as widespread unemployment, displacement and malnutrition continue to burden the country. In early April, WFP launched the “C.A.R. Can’t Wait” campaign to raise awareness and money for the crisis and the humanitarian relief efforts. On the page for this campaign, you can find more information about the challenges presented by this emergency. Visit the page here.
Latest Public Service Announcement (PSA)
You can also view the video PSA for the crisis in the Central African Republic on the “C.A.R. Can’t Wait” page. This video is effective because it adds visual context to the tragedy. Watch it here.
Regional Impact Map
Because C.A.R. is not as well known as some other African countries, many students may have trouble identifying it. This regional map will help students understand C.A.R.’s place on the African continent, as well as the location of its surrounding countries. This map also displays the magnitude of the situation in the region as hundreds of thousands of people flee amidst violence. C.A.R. is immediately surrounded by Congo, Cameroon, Chad, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan.
Stories from the Field
WFP’s stories from the Central African Republic help to personalize the tragedy. For example:
• This story introduces Aishatou. There was not enough room for her, her daughters and her granddaughter on the convoy that helped much of her family flee to Chad. She had to remain in Bossangoa, where she receives food assistance from WFP.
• In this blog entry written by WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin, we are introduced to a 10-year-old named Dieu. When Cousin met him, he was listless and appeared to be a much younger child. The chronic malnutrition that triggered these traits is a condition shared by countless other children in the Central African Republic who have not had access to nutritious food.
Find more stories like these on WFP’s Central African Republic country page here.
How You Can Help
Once your students have an understanding of the situation in C.A.R., they can help WFP raise awareness about the crisis. There are two easy ways to start. First, ask them to share on social media some of the information they have learned. WFP uses the #CARcrisis and #CARCantWait hashtags for posts on the crisis.
Many students also manage web pages or blogs. Ask them to share WFP’s banners for the C.A.R. crisis on these websites. They are available in multiple sizes and are easy to embed. Find them here.
Are you already teaching your classes about the Central African Republic? Let us know what has been effective for you at firstname.lastname@example.org