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History of Africare in Guinea-Bissau
While on an official mission to the U.S. in the spring of 1988, the late President of Guinea-Bissau, João Bernardo Vieira, visited Africare headquarters in Washington D.C. and asked the organization to support the people of Guinea-Bissau in its development efforts. A grant from USAID allowed Africare to quickly respond to President Vieira’s request and implement a pilot PL 480, Title II program to promote the development of the local communities.
In September of 1988, the Guinea-Bissau government approved the juridical position of Africare as a non-government international development organization. Since then Africare expanded its interventions nation-wide, having marked a strong and respectful presence in the country by implementing development and humanitarian programs. Assistance provided included agricultural production and food security, communities ‘managerial skills training, literacy, nutritional education, health and HIV & AIDS, development of infrastructure (roads, foot bridges, community health posts, wells, rural market places and village schools), legalization, organizational capacity building, and credit. Special emphasis was placed on women and youth participation and agricultural product diversity as two important activities for providing employment and skills enhancement for income-generation. While many regions in Guinea-Bissau benefited from Africare assistance, this assistance was impeded by the status of insecurity that prevailed in the country; rendering it difficult for development activities and forcing Africare to phase-out of Guinea-Bissau in 2003.
In February 2010, Africare responded to a Requested for Application (RFA) posted by UNHCR and was subsequently selected to receive funding to assist the Senegalese refugees hosted in Guinea-Bissau since 1992. After providing 45,000 Senegalese refugees with assistance in farming, microenterprise development, health and primary education, Africare phased out of Guinea-Bassau once again in December 2010.