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Mercy Corps tackles the next silent disaster: Central African Republic

Water project in Central African RepublicThe Central African Republic (CAR) is one of the poorest countries in the world. Large,, landlocked and sparsely populated, the United Nations Development Programme ranked CAR second-to-last – 178 out of 179 countries – on its 2008 Human Development Index.

Two-thirds of the population lives on less than $1 per day. In just two decades (1988 to 2008), life expectancy plummeted – from an already brief 49 years to an even shorter 43 years.

CAR rarely is featured in international news, which leads to a lack of donor interest in a country that needs it most.

Today, Mercy Corps is helping the people of the Central African Republic gain access to clean water and safe sanitation and adopt healthy hygiene practices. Recent projects include traditional wells, installed boreholes, repaired pumps, the construction of a water reservoir, and capping four springs to provide more than 100,000 people with access to potable water.

As one of the few organizations currently working in CAR that focuses on development rather than humanitarian assistance, Mercy Corps works with local women’s organizations to provide training in organizational, financial, and project management skills.

Upon completion of the capacity-building program, women’s groups are eligible to apply for funding to support small social and economic projects that benefit group members and the community.

Mercy Corps also will help defend the rights of women by supporting grassroots women's organizations and equipping women with the tools they need to run their own businesses.

In the last decade, GreaterGood.org and The GreaterGood Network has given more than $1 million to Mercy Corps to fight hunger and poverty around the world.

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