CRS in Angola
Despite Angola's rich natural mineral and oil resources, a civil war that lasted 27 years devastated the country and left its infrastructure and institutions in shambles. Since the war ended in 2002, refugees have returned home and people have remained in the urban areas or resettled in their villages.
Due to oil exports, Angola is considered “mid-level” by economic standards. Huge construction projects abound, especially in Luanda, the capital, but persistent poverty is the reality for the majority of Angolans. In spite of the country’s oil and mineral wealth, life expectancy is only 52 years; the country's health care and education systems remain weak, and the gap between the rich and poor is large. Malaria remains the most persistent cause of both child and adult mortality, while under nutrition and malnutrition are at rates commensurate with much poorer countries. Climate change is also taking its toll. In 2011/2012, Angola was hit by a serious drought, exacerbating already high under nutrition and malnutrition.
CRS' History in Angola
Catholic Relief Services has worked in Angola since 1989. Angola’s Bishops' Conference asked CRS to support the emergency response throughout the 27 year war, which killed half a million people and displaced another four million.
CRS Angola’s activities have evolved in accordance with the changing context. During the war, CRS provided emergency relief and livelihood recovery for the internally displaced in Benguela Province. From the end of the civil war in 2002 to 2009, CRS supported reconstruction and peacebuilding efforts. Since 2010, CRS' biggest focus has been on improving health and nutrition services. CRS has and is responding to the critical needs of the poor and vulnerable by supporting the efforts of local NGOs, especially Caritas and the Ministry of Health, to improve the prevention, care and treatment for malaria and to increase vaccination coverage for new mothers (to address both infant mortality and under nutrition). CRS is supporting Caritas Angola in reducing the stigma associated with HIV and AIDS to increase access to care and treatment.
In 2014-2015, CRS added emergency agriculture and nutrition interventions to address the impact of the drought in 2011/12. CRS Angola supported the Ministry of Health of Benguela Province and community based organizations to improve the detection and treatment of malnutrition, while also undertaking an agricultural recovery program in the most vulnerable provinces of southern Angola.