Liberia

ACT Appeal Liberia: Assistance to IDPs and Refugees - AFLR-31 (Rev. 1)

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Appeal Target: US$ 2,581,669
Balance Requested from ACT Network: US$ 2,366,669

Geneva, 20 February 2003

Dear Colleagues,

The Liberia appeal is being revised essentially to incorporate emergency response programs for the Concerned Christian Communities (CCC) and the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), both members of the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC). The two organisations are being included in the appeal under the responsibility of the LCC. The CCC has participated in ACT appeals in the previous two years, while YMCA will be implementing in an ACT Appeal for the first time.

The YMCA will mainly target children up to the age of 18 years in the IDP camps by providing nutritional feeding programs, literacy classes, trauma healing, and peace building and reconciliation activities. The CCC will target 750 vulnerable IDP and refugee women in the camps who have also been victims of sexual exploitation. The programs include, psychosocial and trauma counselling, Medical and material relief assistance, and provision of seed capital for rehabilitated women to re-start their lives in the communities.

Please note that for the sake of brevity, no changes have been made to the appeal document issued on 29 January, 2003. The appeal has now a total of six different implementing members/partners as follows;

  • Lutheran World Federation (LWF)
  • Lutheran Church in Liberia (LCL)
  • United Methodist Church (UMC)
  • United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR)
  • Concerned Christian Community (CCC)
  • Young Men’s Association (YMCA)

Project Completion Date:

LCL - 31 December 2003
LCC/UMC - 31 December 2003
LWF - 31 December 2003
UMCOR - 30 June 2003
CCC - 31 August 2003
YMCA - 31 December 2003

Summary of Appeal Targets, Pledges/Contributions Received and Balance Requested

LCC/CCC
LCC/YMCA
LCL
LWF
LCC/UMC
UMCOR
ACT Field Visit
Total Target US$
Total Appeal Targets
229,950
247,549
152,150
1,616,117
207,935
122,968
5,000
2,581,669
Less: Pledges/Contr. Recd
185,000
30,000
215,000
Balance Requested from ACT Network
229,950
247,549
152,150
1,431,117
207,935
92,968
5,000
2,366,669

Please kindly send your contributions to the following ACT bank account:

Account Number - 240-432629.60A (USD)
Account Name: ACT - Action by Churches Together
UBS SA
PO Box 2600
1211 Geneva 2
SWITZERLAND

Please also inform the Finance Officer Jessie Kgoroeadira (direct tel. +4122/791.60.38, e-mail address jkg@act-intl.org) of all pledges/contributions and transfers, including funds sent direct to the implementers, now that the Pledge Form is no longer attached to the Appeal.

We would appreciate being informed of any intent to submit applications for EU, USAID and/or other back donor funding and the subsequent results. We thank you in advance for your kind co-operation.

ACT Web Site address: http://www.act-intl.org

Thor-Arne Prois
Director, ACT

ACT is a worldwide network of churches and related agencies meeting human need through coordinated emergency response.

The ACT Coordinating Office is based with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Switzerland.

I. REQUESTING ACT MEMBER INFORMATION

  • Liberia Council of Churches (LCC) ACT LIBERIA NETWORK

II. IMPLEMENTING ACT MEMBER & PARTNER INFORMATION

LCC is the National Council of Churches comprising about fifteen church and para-church organisations in Liberia. LCC has been involved with providing emergency relief assistance to the displaced and refugees around the country since the inception of the Liberian civil crisis as well as to other vulnerable groups in Liberian society. It has also organised disaster workshops in collaboration with other local ACT Network members. LCC structure includes a General Assembly, an Executive Committee, and a Secretariat which manages programs in Theological Education, Evangelism, Agriculture, Development, Refugees, Emergency and Relief, Mass Media, Youth and Peace Commission.

Description of ACT Member’s Implementing partner

The Concerned Christian Community (CCC) is a local Christian organisation founded 12 years ago (1990) in response to the pain and suffering caused by the civil war.

CCC is a partner of LCC and a member of the ACT Network in Liberia, which comprises: LCC, United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), Lutheran World Federation/World Service (LWF/WS), Christian Health Association of Liberia (CHAL), United Methodist Church (UMC), Lutheran Church in Liberia (LCL), Young Mens Christian Association of Liberia (YMCA) and Concerned Christian Community (CCC). CCC and LCC has collaborated on programs of mutual interest since 1992 in areas of peace-building, evangelism, relief and training amongst other. During the last three years CCC and LCC have co-operated in the training of CCC field staff at ARI Japan. The scholarship, which is worth more than sixteen-thousand-dollars is being supported by the World Council of Churches and the Asian Rural Institute in Japan.

During 2000 CCC implemented more than thirty-five community based agriculture programs. Since 2000 to present CCC have provided more than 700 scholarships to students in four rural counties, rehabilitated about four hundred abused women and girls through trauma and HIV/AIDS counselling programmes, medical and relief assistance, skills training and income generation, among others. During 2001 and 2002, about 1,300 sexually abused women and girls have been assisted with aid from ACT International, Dorcas Aid International and the United Nations amongst others.

III. DESCRIPTION of the EMERGENCY SITUATION

Background

What initially appeared to be a handful of soldiers mutinying for better salaries in the Ivory Coast turned into full-scale rebel activities with all the convoluted political ramifications. The situation has worsened by the day: splinter rebel groups have mushroomed thus making the eastern part of the Ivory Coast totally unsafe. Since the fighting is close to the Liberian border civilians are fleeing into Liberia in the thousands suddenly creating scarcity in the eastern part of Liberia. As of December 2002 more than 55,000 (30,00 refugees and 25,000 Liberian Returnees) has been registered by both the government of Liberia represented by the Liberian Repatriation Resettlement and Reintegration Commission (LRRRC) and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). There are reports of returnees and refugees being stripped of their belongings and physically abused and harassed.

CCC, being especially interested in war affected women and children, fielded a team of counsellors and medical officers from its Women and Children Services Department to conduct a series of assessments to identify its target groups which include sexually abused and battered women, and those who have lost family members. The assessment took several days and the results indicated that more than two thousand (2,000) women had undergone various types of physical abuse. CCC has targeted 500 of the most critically abused women and young girls (as young as 12 years) including Liberian returnees and Ivorian refugees. The condition of these women and girls calls for urgent attention and is the focus for this proposal.

Current Situation:

The intense fighting has sent thousand of returnees and refugees into Liberia. In their haste to escape the fighting, most have had to leave all their belongings behind while others have been robbed of their few possessions.

On the Liberian side of the border in Nimba, Grand Gedeh and Maryland counties, the towns and villages were totally unprepared for the influx of returnees and refugees. The sudden influx of over 55,000 people in desperate need of all basics has overwhelmed the already over stretched host communities. The returnees and refugees are currently sheltering in huts provided by the host communities, but these are clearly inadequate and temporary tent accommodation has been put up by the UNHCR to ease the situation somewhat.

The World Food Program (WFP) is providing two-week rations of Bulgur wheat while water has to be taken from the rivers and any other source available.

Many of the returnees and refugees who arrive exhausted and often in ill health have had to trek through the bush for many days. Lone women have often been coerced into having sex with men so that they could be escorted through the bush and forests and over the border into Liberia. Some of the women have been raped and beaten up and are consequently suffering psychological and physical trauma . Others are grieving for loved ones lost or killed in the fighting.

The Liberian civil crisis has its own toil on Liberians hailing from the north, north east and western part of the country. Thousands have been displaced internally. According to the humanitarian report more than 150,000 Liberians have been displaced by the current civil strife and are settled in more than fourteen (14) displacement camps around the country. About 60% of the displaced population are women and there are reports of heinous crimes being perpetrated both by government and rebel soldiers especially against the women and girls - multiple rapes and other abuse. CCC surveys indicate that about 15% of the displaced women have suffered rape, battery and related crimes, not only causing psychological and physical suffering but degrading their status among their peers. Many of the victims felt isolated and rejected by family and friends. Out of this number CCC is targeting about seven hundred and fifty (750) internally displaced, refugee and returnee women and girls who are victims of abuse.

Impact on Human Lives

Over fifty five thousand (55,000) persons including returnees and refugees have already crossed into Liberia. This number is increasing steadily since people are entering at several points along the eastern border of the country. Many of the women and children have sustained injuries. In the process of fleeing for safety many of them have become separated from their families - some have even lost their children as well as husbands. The "no-mans land" between the two countries is covered in thick foliage and lone women are piloted by men through this area into Liberia. In the process, these men take advantage and use the women as "wives in transit". Most of these are suffering psychologically if not physically.

Description of Damages

The sudden influx of returnees and refugees on the border towns in Nimba, Grand Gedeh and Maryland was unexpected and has consequently had a huge impact on the various communities. Already before the influx these communities were over-stretched as regards facilities and food security. Now all available food has been eaten up and the current humanitarian intervention is grossly inadequate. People are hungry. School buildings are currently occupied by the returnees and refugees so there is no schooling. All the basics to sustain human life are lacking with shelter, latrines and water urgently needed.

Location of Proposed Response

The project will be located in four areas, namely: Karnplay and Zwedru in Nimba and Grand Gedeh counties and CARI and Jah Tondo Displacement Shelters in Bong and Montserrado Counties. All these are within the CCC operational areas where CCC has volunteers at hand which will save on costs for personnel having to be transferred from other areas.

Emergency Statistics

Liberia Refugee, Repatriation and Resettlement Commission, (LRRRC) the relief arm of the Government and UNHCR quotes a figure of over 55,000 returnees and refugees sheltering in Nimba, Grand Gedeh and Maryland Counties. CCC fielded a team to assess the situation and screen victims of torture. More than 1,500 torture victims were identified from which CCC aims to assist 750 of the most vulnerable victims to complement the efforts of other relief groups assisting the affected population.

Current Security Situation

The current security situation in the target area is quite stable - the eastern part of Liberia is one of the calmest areas with no reports of fighting or harassment of civilians. Military activities are restricted to Ivory Coast.

IV. GOAL & OBJECTIVES

Goal:

The goal of the project is to bring relief to female victims - returnees and refugees escaping the war in the Ivory Coast as well as victims of the Liberian civil strife. This goal would be achieved through psychosocial counselling, which has the following components: Trauma counselling, HIV/AIDS awareness, Medical, Material relief assistance and Training and empowerment.

Objectives:

  • Trauma counselling
  • HIV/AIDS awareness
  • Medical relief
  • Material assistance
  • Training & empowerment

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