Quick impact projects: an oasis for women in Bangui’s 4th arrondissement
A festive mood hung in the air in the courtyard of Bangui’s 4th district town hall long before the dignitaries started to arrive. Celebratory music blared out from speakers. The early arrivals – women both old and young – did not need prompting to jump out of their chairs and confidently swing to the music, the seemingly haphazard playlist notwithstanding. An incessant drizzle – unusual for the Central African capital in March – threatened to derail the day’s agenda: the inauguration of the “Women’s Home”, a building exclusively constructed for women on the town hall premises.
The unpredictable weather could however not dampen the determination of guests and hosts alike. Among those in attendance were the Central African Republic’s Minister for the Promotion of Women, the Family and Child Protection, Aline Gisèle Pana, and the MINUSCA Acting Chief of Staff, Souleymane Thioune.
In her welcome speech, the mayor of the 4th arrondissement said that the building would provide a much-needed space to fight female illiteracy and provide training for women in various socioeconomic areas, including microfinance and other income-generating activities.
For her part, the minister thanked the mayor for mobilizing women to defend their rights, in the quest for peace and development in the country: “This will be a place for dialogue, learning and social cohesion for Central African women in their pursuit of social and economic empowerment,” she said.
The 3-month Quick Impact Project (QIP) was brought to fruition by the non-governmental organization “Grenier d'Afrique”, with the financial support of MINUSCA – amounting to about CFA 17 million. It will directly benefit over 150 women from various associations in the capital’s 4th district, who have sorely lacked a meeting place to address issues related to their development.
Designed to be completed within a period of six months, MINUSCA’s QIPs aim at promoting trust between the local population and the Mission and responding to the urgent needs of communities affected by conflict – through delivering basic social services, contributing to national peace and reconciliation processes and community security as well as strengthening national institutions and advancing the return of State authority.
“This Quick Impact Project is just one many others across Bangui and CAR’s prefectures and is proof of our determination to support your efforts for reconstruction and stability,” said the MINUSCA Acting Chief of Staff Souleymane Thioune while handing over the facilities.
Social cohesion is the ultimate goal of the project. The beneficiaries will from now on be able to make use of two offices, an equipped meeting room, a training room, a dining area and other essential facilities.
As the handover ceremony drew to a close, the women gathered in groups and chatted animatedly in a place they can now call their own – safe from the pouring rain; hopeful in the possibilities that their new sanctuary holds for their continued empowerment.