Established in 1983, the International Partnership for Human Development (IPHD) is an American 501(c)(3) non-profit organization registered with USAID that works to deliver emergency and developmental resources to the world’s struggling nations. Over the past 23 years, IPHD has managed 54 food aid programs in 11 countries. In addition, IPHD has supported non-food aid projects in 10 other countries.
IPHD is currently managing an FY 2002 USDA Food for Progress program in CAR. IPHD has an experienced expatriate country director in Bangui, and has local staff including monitors, a finance officer, and a logistics specialist. IPHD staff in Bangui is backed by IPHD/HQ staff with over 100 years of combined food aid experience, gained from such organizations such as CRS, CARE, USAID and USDA. IPHD’s NGO partner, Caritas, provides over 25 management and project staff. Caritas runs health, HIV/AIDS, water, and agricultural projects in the CAR.
Country profile and food situation
The 3.8 million inhabitants of the Central African Republic face overwhelming health and economic concerns, even by Africa’s difficult standards. A 14.5% prevalence of HIV/AIDS and 22,000 registered deaths in 2001 has left over 50,000 children orphaned and 40,000 women widowed, creating an uphill survival battle for the nation’s most vulnerable populations. Directly related to this dilemma, one-third of the country’s children are malnourished and 63% of the general population suffers from iodine deficiency. Also taking a toll on the population and economy, nearly 100% of the CAR’s inhabitants will suffer a bout with malaria this year – and every year. Rounding out this grim picture, two-thirds of the national workforce is left to face all of these challenges on less than $1 per day.
The CAR’s normal challenges were recently compounded by pervasive internal conflict (ended June 2003), which left over 230,000 people displaced and caused most farmers to miss the April/May 2003 planting season. Perennially labeled a food deficit country, the FAO appropriately declared that the CAR was facing a serious food shortage in 2003. Commercial imports of rice and vegetable oil fall short of meeting all food needs. After projected commercial imports, flour shortfall is estimated at 8,000 MT, rice at 5,000 MT, corn at 2,000 MT, and vegetable oil at 10,000 MT.
A recently drafted vulnerability study conducted by WFP clearly indicates the need for food assistance throughout the country. Considering that the CAR’s largest import item is currently food and that these imports fail to meet local demand, serves as further evidence that there is an immediate need for additional food aid. This initiative will not have a negative impact on local production, nor commercial imports since it targets HIV/AIDS victims and other needy families who have little or no purchasing power.