IRC Helps Villages in Devaststed Chechnya and Ingushetia Rebuild
“This program is the first of its kind in the North Caucasus,” said Magomed Umkhaev, the IRC’s civic recovery manager in the region. “It brings people together to identify and organize critical community projects. People from 15 villages, local NGOs and local government have come together to rebuild their communities.”
Two weeks ago, locally elected community recovery committees joined with IRC staff to review the program’s progress. The meetings were an opportunity to increase community involvement. “It is important to get the communities themselves involved,” said Rustam Amerkhanov, who manages the IRC’s civil society development activities. “And there is a lot to do. The conflicts in the North Caucasus have left a legacy of poverty, ethnic tension, instability and sporadic violence.”
Issa, a man from the village of Gazi Yurt, said that the strength of the program is that the community decides which projects to launch. “We managed the project ourselves, although initially it was difficult to build trust between community members and involve them in projects,” he said.
Bashir from Muzhichi said that his community had previously tried to work together to mend a water system but had failed through lack of interest. After community members received training from the IRC they were able to complete the project. As a result, the community is now able to cooperate and find solutions to their problems, Bashir said.
Naci, a school director from the village of Alkun, agrees. “The other teachers and I are happy to come together to improve the school for the children in our community. People are mobilized and ready to do things together.”