A safe place to work
In one of the largest-scale international humanitarian efforts carried out by MSB we have, together with the UN, built office and accommodation solutions for aid workers in four, strategically-selected locations in the Central African Republic. The aim is to strengthen the UN humanitarian presence in the country.
The operation in the Central African Republic lasted for almost three years and is one of MSB's largest-scale international humanitarian operations. Facilities in four locations have been built in cooperation with four UN agencies. In Bria, we collaborated with the World Food Program, WFP, with the UN Children's Fund UNICEF in Kaga-Bandoro, the International Organization for Migration, IOM, in Bangassou and the UN refugee agency UNHCR in Berberati. The Central African Republic is one of the highest priority countries in which the MSB works to reach more people through humanitarian aid.
Parallel construction of facilities in four locations is challenging in itself, and as there was also a different UN agency at each location, communication was very important. Focal points were appointed at each organisation and a clear communication and reporting plan was drawn up between the site supervisors and the mission coordination in the capital, Bangui, as well as with the project manager in Sweden.
Important precondition for the presence of humanitarian aid organizations
The protracted crisis of recurring unrest in the Central African Republic has repeatedly driven people to flight. More than half of the population is in need of support to manage their survival. One important prerequisite for the work of the aid organizations is that they have a safe place to live and operate from located where the needs of the population are greatest.
– Insecurity has been rising and agency presence of UN entities in the field has grown in that area. In terms of space, and wellbeing, in terms of staff security and safety, I think this was a very important achievement, says Farook Adrian Doomun, Deputy Representative at UNICEF about the facility in Kaga-Bandoro. He was one of the MSB focal points for the construction of the facility in Kaga-Bandoro.
In Bria, WFP had previously been able to operate from the UN MINUSCA Military Base, however this was not a long-term sustainable solution. Thanks to the facility that provides accommodation, offices and a logistics hub, they can continue to provide access to clean water and food to the population.
In Berberati, where many Central African refugees return, and also in Bangassou, it has been more difficult to establish a place in which to locate operations. The facilities there will help both the UN and other aid organizations to create a stable presence for as long as they are needed in the country.
Local employment opportunities
All four buildings have mainly been financed by Sida, via MSB with contributions from the UN agencies. MSB has deployed staff for planning and design, supervision and implementation of the construction and electricians. Two Central African building contractors were hired to carry out the work and local labour was used at all four construction sites.
– Local people were employed on site, several hundred people. Everything was done by hand and those who needed inputs were trained by colleagues on site. Many of them had never had the chance to work or train before and now they have learned a trade. It’s a ripple effect, says Sofie Lindholm, head of operations, MSB. Sofie has been involved in the project since start in the spring of 2019. At that time, she worked with design of the facilities. Since then, she has been both construction project manager and head of operations.
– Knowing what we have been involved in and built makes me proud. People will benefit from our efforts for many, many years to come, says Sofie Lindblom, head of operations, MSB.
United Nations Booking Hub powered by WFP
The UN values the wellbeing of the humanitarian community in field operations and endeavors to provide living conditions that meet quality standards, even in difficult environments. The UN Booking Hub is the largest and unique global platform for the humanitarian community to book and manage accommodation field services. Since the launch in 2015, over 100,000 humanitarian workers have booked their Accommodation service through the UN Booking Hub. Seven UN Organizations have joined it to offer more than 270 guesthouses in over 32 countries providing secure Accommodation to aid workers in remote locations to deliver last-mile aid.
About the project
MSB has supported with project management and design in the construction of four facilities in the Central African Republic. The project was funded by the UN and Sida via MSB. The total budget for the project is estimated at SEK 135 million of which Sida contributed SEK 108.2 million.
In Kaga-Bandoro, MSB has built the following together with UNICEF
- 26 office workspaces
- 32 emergency accommodation
- 16 guest workspaces with internet connection
- 24 accommodation units for the humanitarian community
In Berberati, MSB has built the following together with UNHCR
- 12 accommodation units for the humanitarian community
- 34 office workspaces
- 10 guest workspaces with internet connection
In Bangassou MSB built the following together with IOM
- 9 accommodation units for the humanitarian community
- 20 office workspaces
- 24 guest workspaces with internet connection
In Bria MSB built the following together with WFP
- 10 accommodation units for the humanitarian community
- 28 office workspaces
- 14 guest workspaces with internet connection
- 1280 square meters of warehouse space