DRC exits from Côte d’Ivoire after 11 yearsToday the Danish Refugee Council ends its operations in Côte d’Ivoire after 11 years in country.
The mission began in 2006 in order to respond to the population movements as a result of the violent crisis which triggered protection, water and food security needs.
In the following years, DRC developed and broadened its interventions, adapting to shifting needs. From 2009, DRC implemented Income-Generating Activities; infrastructure rehabilitation; WASH; and conflict prevention, conflict resolution and social cohesion activities. More recently, with the progressive stabilisation of the situation in Côte d’Ivoire, DRC’s activities essentially focused on the reintegration of returnees from Liberia in the West and Southwest of Côte d’Ivoire in various sectors: protection, social cohesion, economic recovery, shelter, WASH and the rehabilitation of essential community infrastructures.
DRC established over 100 Protection Committees
Reflecting on the DRC’s greatest achievements in Côte d’Ivoire, the Country Director François Defourny, said: “the Protection Committees are DRC’s legacy in Côte d’Ivoire”.
Over the past decade, DRC created over 100 community-based Protection Committees in the sensitive areas bordering Liberia. DRC trained and coached them intensively to prevent, address or refer cases of human rights violations and extremely vulnerable individuals. Today, these trained Protection Committees play a unique and undisputable role in their communities’ reconciliation process. Before leaving Côte d’Ivoire and in order to ensure their sustainability, DRC handed-over the Protection Committees to UNHCR, who will continue to support them as necessary.
Assisting vulnerable returnees
Another notable success for the DRC in Côte d’Ivoire was the much needed support provided to Ivorian repatriates from Liberia. Upon their return to their communities, returnees were highly vulnerable as they had nothing to rebuild their lives.
Project Manager Pascal Mvogo remembered the case of a physically disabled Ivorian repatriate in a village in the Guiglo region, Western Côte d’Ivoire. With funding from BPRM, DRC built him a shelter and included him in the Income-Generating Activities programme.
"It was very rewarding to witness first-hand how DRC’s work was changing this man’s life for the better. He told me that given his particular situation, being offered these opportunities was “a miracle”. This was very moving", said Pascal.
Moving focus eastward to respond to urgent needs
Côte d’Ivoire was DRC’s last coastal mission in West Africa after having ended operations in Guinea in April 2017 and in Liberia in June 2017. Due to the relative socio-economic stabilisation of these countries and the normalisation of population movements, DRC’s presence in the Coastal region is less needed. DRC’s exit from these countries will therefore enable a focus on the Lake Chad region, where the crisis has dramatically intensified. DRC will therefore scale-up activities in Nigeria and Niger and open a mission in Cameroon in September 2017.