The Vakaga region in the Northeast of the Central African Republic is usually known for its ethnic clashes, instability, and insecurity. Since International Medical Corps started working in the Vakaga region two years ago, it was evident that training opportunities there were almost nonexistent for both youth and adults. Through its child protection program, International Medical Corps has been running numerous initiatives for children and youth. However, in order to have a durable impact on the protection of children, the entire communities have to be involved. On the other hand, teaching only about children’s rights to communities who don’t have the means to feed or care for their children because of lack of resources is ineffective. That is why International Medical Corps decided to set up events that would give the opportunity to community leaders and the people who work with children and youth to empower themselves and help bringing more protection for children.
From December 7th to 18th 2009, International Medical Corps organized eight training sessions in two different locations (Ouadda Djalle and Tiringoulou) in the Vakaga region. 361 participants coming from 26 villages attended the training. International Medical Corps brought ten trainers coming from various national NGOs and from the Central African the Ministry of Education. The trainers facilitated training in Human rights and good leadership, school management, the protection of children within Islamic schools, and the rearing of animals within cooperative schemes. Community leaders learned how they could better provide for their communities. The training on school management brought parents and teachers together for the first time to help them build a common project for the development of their schools. Religious leaders who teach in Koran school were taught about new pedagogies and their role in preaching for peace and respect among children. Young farmers who had not received any technical training ever were explained how cooperatives could help them provide a better care for their cattle and ultimately improve their economic performances.
The participants overwhelmingly enjoyed the training and have shown amazing dedication and thirst for learning. They came from villages 80 to 120 km away, walking and biking for several days. For many it was the first time they were given such opportunity to learn. In a survey conducted at the end of the trainings, 92% of the participants expressed having learned new and important skills. They all realized how much their communities will benefits from their experience. They called for such opportunity to repeat and for more people to be able to participate next time.