Contribution to benefit at least 200,000 children in conflict affected north and south-east regions
BANGUI, Central African Republic, 27 June 2011 – The Government of Japan today donated a grant of US$ 12 million (¥ 998,000,000) to UNICEF to rebuild social service facilities in CAR’s conflict affected north and south-east.
The grant will help at least 200,000 of the country’s most vulnerable children gain access to basic education, health care and safe water and sanitation.
The donation was sealed officially at a ceremony on 27 June 2011 in Bangui, where Ambassador Keiji Yamamoto, representing the Japanese Government in CAR, and Tanya Chapuisat, UNICEF CAR Country Representative, signed the Exchange of Notes in the presence of H.E. Faustin Archange Touadera, CAR’s Prime Minister, the Minister of Education, the Minister of Health and other high level government officials. The Grant Agreement will be signed between JICA (Japan’s bilateral aid agency) and UNICEF in Tokyo.
“UNICEF is deeply humbled by the generosity of the people of Japan. They have a long history of supporting the developing world and are continuing to do so even in the aftermath of their recent calamity,” said Ms. Chapuisat, adding that this grant to CAR will save the lives of thousands of children and help countless others in conflict-affected areas realize their basic rights to education, health and survival.
CAR is a poor country just emerging from years of conflict and the process of rebuilding the nation is slow. Pockets of violence continue to destabilize northern and south-eastern regions and most infrastructures are still in shambles. Child welfare indicators such as child mortality rates are among the worst in the world and special efforts are needed if any considerable progress towards the Millennium Development Goals is to be made.
“I hope that the recent presidential and legislative elections, which Japan helped finance, will lead to peace building and strengthening of human security throughout the country, especially in the regions this project covers, so that the people on the ground are the true beneficiaries,” said Ambassador Yamamoto.
The donation is among the first grants approved by the Government of Japan since the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011. It covers a three-year period and will be used for education, benefitting 20,000 conflict-affected children through the building, rehabilitation and equipment of 260 classrooms and 300 blocks of latrines in 50 communities in the north, and training of 90 parent-teacher associations and education authorities. In the health sector, rehabilitation and equipment of 100 basic health centers and provision of cold chain and other basic materials and emergency kits for obstetric and neonatal care to 100 primary health care facilities will improve health services for over 1 million people including over 190,000 children under five and 42,000 pregnant women. Training of health workers and the provision of 4x4 ambulances and motorcycles will strengthen referral systems and outreach activities.
In the water, hygiene and sanitation sector, the grant will be used to construct 100 new and rehabilitate 200 existing water points, providing access to safe drinking water to at least 150,000 persons. Adequate sanitation facilities and hygiene education at 50 primary schools and 100 health centers will benefit 20,000 school children and 600,000 outpatients including 105,000 children under five and 30,000 pregnant women. The community-led total sanitation programme will help create safe hygiene environments in 300 villages, benefiting directly 300,000 persons, including 52,000 children under five and 15,000 pregnant women. Inhabitants of 300 villages will be empowered to contribute to their own community development. This includes the construction of seven youth centers and training of young HIV peer educators and support groups.
The Government of Japan has supported CAR since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1960, with some interruptions due to security concerns during periods of intense armed conflict. Current aid priorities center on the consolidation of peace and Millennium Development Goals interventions, especially in maternal and child health, primary education and water and sanitation.
Between 2008 and 2010, Japan’s bi-lateral aid and contributions to different humanitarian and development partners in CAR amounted to US$ 45.5 million, including support to debt relief and last year’s legislative and presidential elections.
“Japan’s contributions are geared towards reaching and empowering the most vulnerable communities and reducing inequities as a strategy to achieving the MDGs – a vision shared by UNICEF,” said Ms. Chapuisat, “and we are looking forward to working together on its realization.”
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org
For further information, please contact:
At the Embassy of Japan in Cameroon
Naoya IKEDA, First Secretary,
Tel: +237 2220 6202
Naoko IWASAKI, UNICEF Tokyo,
Patrick McCORMICK, UNICEF New York,
Tel.: + 1 212 326 7426
Martin DAWES, UNICEF West and Central Africa
Tel.: +221 33 869 58 42, Mobile +221 77 569 19 26
Brigitte STARK-MERKLEIN, UNICEF Central African Republic,
Tel.: + 236 70 55 02 10