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ICRC activities in the Republic of the Congo (January-March 2007)

11-05-2007 Operational Update

Water and habitat, health care, agricultural and fish-farming projects, promotion of international humanitarian law, visits to people deprived of their freedom and restoration of family links.

 

Assistance 

 
© ICRC 
 
Access to drinking water is a daily concern for residents of the Pool department. 
    ICRC assistance activities in the Congo are focused almost exclusively on the Pool department, the region most severely affected by the latest conflict to ravage the country. To allow the civilians who had fled from Pool to return, the ICRC is providing aid in a variety of forms. One priority is to ensure access to drinking water and basic health care. The ICRC is also helping groups of farmers as a means of revitalizing certain sectors of the economy.  

Water and habitat

 Access to drinking water in rural areas  

  • Finished repairing a gravity-fed water system serving 3,500 people in Kingouala.

  • Continued repairs on a gravity-fed water system serving 6,000 people in Kibouéndé.

  • Evaluated a gravity-fed water system serving 10,000 people in Mindouli.

  • Evaluated water projects for around 19,000 people in Kinkala (town centre), Mbamou, Madzia, Nzabayokélé, Kintamou, Mindouli (town centre), Kinkembo, Louholo and Kimbédi (station district and surrounding villages).

 Access to drinking water in urban areas  

Ongoing repairs on the Kinkala water-treatment plant (around 10,000 beneficiaries):

  • Continued civil engineering work

  • Finished cleaning up the plant site, protecting the river banks and building the reservoir.

  • Evaluated possible sites for installing 10 tapstands and developing three water sources.

 Health care  

 Hygiene and sanitation awareness programme  

  • Sensitized 631 people in Yanga, Maniéto, Moulouangou and Voula to hygiene and sanitation around water points in cooperation with Pool's public hygiene service.

  • Donated a metal hygiene-awareness sign to the Kingouala integrated health centre.

 Integrated health centres (IHC)

  • Inaugurated the newly repaired IHC in Kimanika, Mindouli district (4,000 beneficiaries).

  • Finished building a latrine/shower block for the Kimanika IHC.

  • Inaugurated the newly built m aternity ward in Madzia, Kinkala district. This IHC covers the health-care needs of 12,000 people.

  • Inspected the Kinkala and Mindouli IHCs and provided them with technical support.

 Cassava and fish-farming projects  

  • Eight farmers'groups in Kinkala and Mindouli were paid to establish seed fields for the multiplication of mosaic-resistant cassava (clearing, ploughing, planting and weeding).

  • 35 awareness sessions on cassava mosaic virus disease were held in two districts:

- Kinkala (457 participants – 348 brochures distributed)

- Mindouli (375 participants – 176 brochures distributed)

  • 239 members of 85 farmers'groups attended five seminars dealing with methods for controlling cassava mosaic disease and modern techniques for developing and managing ponds in northern Pool. The seminars took place in:

- Kindamba (126 participants from 25 farmers'groups ­– 126 agricultural brochures and 378 fish-farming brochures distributed)

- Kimba (67 participants from 20 farmers'groups ­– 67 agricultural brochures and 201 fish-farming brochures distributed)

- Vinza (46 participants from 40 farmers'groups ­– 46 agricultural brochures and 138 fish-farming brochures distributed)
 

 
Prevention 

 

The ICRC's prevention activities consist in promoting international humanitarian law (IHL) and humanitarian principles aimed at limiting the suffering caused by armed violence.

 Congolese armed forces  

In all, 263 members of the Congolese armed forces took part in various information sessions on IHL and the ICRC's work.

  • Two sessions were held for 242 members of the republican guard.

  • One session was held for 21 officers in training at the Marien Ngouabi Military Academy in Brazzaville.

Moreover, 22 legal advisers in international humanitarian law were trained in cooperation with the permanent technical committee for the dissemination of IHL and human rights law within the armed forces. This was the first time that such training had ever been provided in central Africa.

 Police and gendarmerie  

  • 223 police officers were sensitized to humanitarian principles, IHL and human rights law.

  • 20 high-ranking officers studying for a diplôme d'état-major attended a lecture on IHL.

 Authorities  

  • Provided financial and technical support for the participation of a representative of the Republic of Congo in the Second Universal Meeting of National IHL Committees in Geneva.

  • Provided technical support for the interministerial committee in charge of looking into ways and means of setting up a national IHL committee.

  • Held regular meetings with the authorities to keep abreast of developments regarding the national implementation of IHL.

 Other bearers of weapons  

  • Residents of the Pool, including former combatants, attended seven theatrical performances on respect for the civilian population and on the ICRC's work. The performances were held in Ki bouendé, Magniéto, Voula, Kimbedi and Loulombo.

 Human-rights NGOs and media  

  • 33 members of human-rights NGOs attended a workshop on IHL and the ICRC's work.

  • One information session on the ICRC and its work in the Congo was held for journalists.

  • Seven press releases were issued on IHL and the ICRC's work.

 Universities and schools  

  • An open day on IHL was held at the law faculty of the Marien Ngouabi University. A total of 89 teachers and students from the law faculty, the École nationale d'administration et de magistrature and the Université libre du Congo took part in it.

 

Protection 
 

 Protection of people deprived of their freedom  

On the basis of an agreement with the government signed in 1999, the ICRC visits places of detention under the responsibility of the ministries of security and public order, justice and defence. The purpose of these visits is to promote respect for human dignity and to improve conditions of detention where necessary.

  • Three visits were conducted in two places of detention in Brazzaville.

  • Seven Red Cross messages were distributed and two collected.

 Restoring family links  

As part of its efforts to restore family links, the ICRC enables people to write Red Cross messages to family members from whom they have been separated by conflict. These messages contain only personal news. The ICRC als o reunites family members. It does this mainly on behalf of the most vulnerable – children.

  • 353 Red Cross messages were collected and 342 distributed, mainly in Brazzaville, Sangha and Pointe-Noire.

  • After 12 years of separation from his family, an unaccompanied boy was able to talk with his mother on the telephone.

 



Cooperation with the Congolese Red Cross 
 

As components of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the ICRC and the Congolese Red Cross (CRC) work together in several areas of activity.

With the ICRC's support:

  • 40 CRC peer educators from Mindouli and Kinkala districts received HIV/Aids training and were taught how to implement their 2007 action plans. They were also given basic first-aid training.

  • 20 volunteers from the Brazzaville CRC branch received similar training.

  • 113 Red Cross messages were collected by the Kouilouin CRC branch in Pointe-Noire from refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda and 74 messages were distributed.

  • Two volunteers from the Brazzaville CRC branch were taught how to collect and distribute Red Cross messages.
     

Building work began on the local CRC branch office in Kinkala. The latrine/shower block of the Mindouli branch office was completed and connected to the city's water system.
 

 
Further information:
  Valery Mbaoh Nana, ICRC Brazzaville
  Tel. : + (242) 553 04 40 / 81 12 08 / 679 10 10 / 679 14 14