The project, drawing on a US $2.7 million trust fund and an additional US $400,000 from UNDP, is to focus on community-level schemes related to primary health care, education and basic infrastructure. The programme is aimed mainly at Angola's coastal provinces, that have remained relatively unaffected by the civil war.
Lessons have been learnt from the ambitious first phase of the project which attempted to cover all 18 provinces when launched in 1996, a UNDP official told IRIN. Last week, documents were signed on the start-up of the new phase to tackle grassroots development issues, but will also include a capacity-building component for government officials in the ministry of planning and in the provinces.
"It's going to be very interesting because of the component of community participation and empowerment," the UNDP official told IRIN on Monday. "It's very, very important to give them the capacity to be self-sufficient and to take care of their lives, because UNDP and the donors aren't going to be here forever."
Meanwhile, humanitarian sources told IRIN that the UNITA rebel movement had stepped up guerrilla attacks that have put on hold any wide-ranging plans to return internally displaced people (IDPs) to their homes. "There has not been a significant movement of IDPs (into towns and cities) or a significant movement of IDPs to their places of origin. We are in a wait-and-see mode," one official explained.
He added, though, that the humanitarian community has been able to improve assistance to affected people. "There will always be problems of malnutrition, but there are more feeding centres and more regular supplies and the situation is under control. This is quite important because this is the 'lean' period ahead of the next harvest in March and April."
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