(Sheila McKinnon photo)
In Angola, During War and Peace
Africare has worked in Angola for 18 years, during war and peace. It has served the needs of displaced persons and war-affected communities; and following the end of fighting between the government and UNITA rebels in April 2002, it has supported resettlement and reconciliation.
Bie province has been a key programmatic focus. There, Africare has played a lead role for many years in vaccinating children under five and mothers, strengthening food security, eradicating polio and promoting landmine awareness.
And, noted Kevin Lowther, regional director for Southern Africa, "Africare's work in Bie is executed entirely by Angolan staff, headed by Pedro Siloka, who was awarded the U.S. Embassy's first humanitarian prize for saving several hundred lives, during the 1993-1994 siege of Kuito town, by establishing emergency food kitchens." Siloka also was instrumental in creating mobile vaccination teams comprising both government and UNITA health workers.
"This," Lowther continued, "has demonstrated that war-time opponents can join hands in the common cause of rebuilding their nation."