Help for Intercultural Communication and Rural Self-Help (ACIAR), Orientale
ACIAR is registered as an NGO with the national government.
Bunia, Ituri district, Orientale province
Ituri, but with a focus on Djugu and Mahagi territories. ACIAR’s main office is in Bunia, and it has project offices in Mahagi and Kpandroma.
Sectors of InterventionMicrofinance; agricultural development; socioeconomic support for former soldiers; support for small business; support for at-risk youths; organizational development
ACIAR (Appui à la communication interculturelle et au autopromotion rurale) was formed in 1994 and became formally registered as an NGO in 1998. From the start, ACIAR worked on community development, community relations, and organizational development. Its first projects were in Ituri’s Mambasa territory, but conflict forced it to move to Bunia town. It has helped many local NGOs to form, including Women’s Forum of Ituri (FOMI) and FLEVICA (both featured in this report). In recent years, it has been involved in several projects for excombatants in Ituri, including child soldiers. ACIAR has worked with many international donors, including UNDP, the International Criminal Court’s Trust Fund for Victims, CORDAID, and ICCO.
MissionHelp the communities of Ituri to live together
- Promote intercultural communication
- Promote the self-improvement of rural populations
Populations ServedIn principle, the entire population of Ituri, but actual populations served depend on the project. ACIAR has served small-scale farmers, women, and former combatants, including child soldiers.
- Microfinance: ACIAR provides small sums to individuals or cooperatives, particularly in Mahagi and Djugu territories.
- Ex-combatants: ACIAR supports small trade organizations composed of ex-combatants to provide them with economic development for their activities, such as mechanics, tailoring, and agriculture.
- Child soldiers: ACIAR oversees a project in Mahagi territory to train former child soldiers in job skills, provide them with microfinance for economic or social needs, and give them a reinsertion kit worth $200 to enable them to start a business.
- Agricultural development: ACIAR works with small-scale farmers in Mahagi territory to help them restart farming activities that were halted by war, such as coffee production.
ACIAR is guided by a general assembly of 13 members that include religious leaders, local social leaders, and people with extensive development experience. The general assembly meets once a year and elects the board of directors. The board consists of seven members and meets twice a year. The board provides guidance to the organization and must approve major expenditures and projects. ACIAR has 12 staff at its Bunia headquarters, and 74 project staff. Headquarters staff includes the coordinator, two sector chiefs (for northern and southern Ituri), and three finance officers. Project staff includes specialists in microfinance, agronomy, job training, socioeconomic reintegration, and economic development.
ACIAR has an account with BIC in Bunia. For financial, administrative, and personnel management, ACIAR has:
- A procedures manual with policies for financial management; hiring and personnel issues; and purchasing policies and procedures: YES
- A computerized accounting system: YES
- A clearly defined accounting process: YES
- Clear procedures for management of payroll, petty cash, procurement, and disbursements: YES
- Staff with the technical expertise to undertake projects: YES
- Long-term presence in the region gives it legitimacy and credibility
- Owns its offices and cars, which enables it to use grants to directly work on projects
- Strong ties to the community and with various local and international actors
- Many long-term staff who provide experience needed to implement its activities
- Greater organizational capacities for finance and management, in terms of both personnel and technical capacities
- Creation of a strategic plan to guide its activities
- Greater internal capacity to conduct audits of its possessions
Funders and BudgetFor 2010, ACIAR’s budget was approximately $400,000. Current funders include UNDP, the International Criminal Court’s Trust Fund for Victims, VECO Belgium, Bureau international du travail (BIT), CORDAID, and ICCO (a Dutch NGO).
- Helped numerous local NGOs to increase their capacities
- Helped sensitize communities to accept returning soldiers
- Helped with the reinsertion of 2,100 ex-combatants, including 600 former child soldiers
- Provided thousands of dollars in microfinance loans since 2005
- Helped small-scale farmers to restart coffee production, resulting in the export of more than 500 tons of coffee from Mahagi
- Rehabilitated the hydroelectric plant at Kpandroma in order to provide power for an industrial mill to enable local farmers to grind and export maize flour
Organizational VisionPromote sustainable development; network with other community-based organizations in DRC; expand its work in microfinance and agricultural development
- Agricultural development in Irumu and Mambasa territories: ACIAR proposes to undertake a program of agricultural development in areas of Irumu and Mambasa territories affected by conflict and underdevelopment. This project will improve the organization of existing agricultural cooperatives; purchase machines for the cooperatives to be able to process rice, palm oil, and other products; and organize trainings to promote peaceful cohabitation in this troubled region. Cost: $625,000 (for three years)
- Agro-pastoral development in Aru territory: ACIAR proposes to revitalize agricultural and pastoral production in Aru territory, which has emerged into a postconflict phase. ACIAR will organize farmers, provide them with improved seeds, give them access to microcredit, and conduct trainings on various topics related to farming and commercialization of crops. ACIAR will also work with cattle herders to improve their socioeconomic status. Cost: $875,000 (for three years)
- Microfinance in Ituri: ACIAR proposes to develop microfinance systems in Mahagi (Mahagi territory), and in Kpandroma and Fataki (Djugu territory), for the benefit of local populations. It will enter into agreements with local cooperatives, educate local communities about microfinance, and oversee programs in these three locations. Cost: $625,000 (for three years)