Angola: Reintegration assistance for demobilised soldiers
Thousands of demobilized former UNITA soldiers and their dependents struggling to survive in one of the poorest countries in the world, will be assisted through a pilot IOM programme under an agreement just signed with the Angolan government.
IOM will assist a group of 1,700 former soldiers and an estimated 8,500 dependents in Mungo in northern Huambo province, one of the worst affected areas in the 27-year civil war. The assistance falls under the Angolan government's demobilization and reintegration programme (ADRP), funded by the World Bank.
Assistance to help the former soldiers reintegrate into communities, will be given through community revitalization projects. The projects aim to build confidence and reconcile differences through the establishment of sustainable employment opportunities in both food and non-food production and the rehabilitation of infrastructure.
More than 110,000 soldiers were demobilized after a peace agreement signed between the Angolan government and UNITA forces in April 2002, with 79,000 of them from UNITA.
An IOM survey at the time on the needs of demobilized soldiers found that all of them required transportation to return to their places of origin, assistance to rebuild their homes, agricultural tools and seeds or money to start a business, and clothing.
Although they received some assistance upon demobilization, most of the former soldiers are still living well below the poverty line and many are struggling to survive. Crop failures, isolation from employment sources, lack of road infrastructure and the continued presence of vast quantities of landmines means the humanitarian situation outside of Luanda remains dire. One of the worst affected areas is Kuando Kubango in southeastern Angola, and disgruntlement among the former soldiers across the country is on the rise.
The oil company Chevron which has already funded IOM operations in eastern Moxico, has agreed to fund reintegration work in Kuando Kubango in recognition of the urgent humanitarian needs of both of the remote and largely neglected provinces that have no known oil reserves.
The pilot IOM programme, which builds on IOM demobilization and reintegration experience in both Angola and around the world, will be supported by other IOM reintegration initiatives in the country, which have been ongoing since 2003 and presently target the provinces of Kuanza Sul, Huambo, Moxico and Kuando Kubango. Through all reintegration activities, IOM has assisted 17,000 heads of families, 30 per cent of whom were former soldiers, and 70,000 dependents.
Other donors also include the Swedish, British, South African, American, Swiss and German governments.
Von: 02 September 2005, http://www.reliefweb.int