In 2011, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) held its second presidential and legislative elections since the end of the Congo War in 2003. These elections reflect the political will of the government in DRC, but corruption persisted and violence in North Kivu province continued. DRC also fell to the bottom of the 2011 Human Development Index.
Concern's work in DRC
Concern has been working in DRC since 1994 with programs in emergency response, health, and livelihoods.
HEALTH—Reducing diseases and providing water and sanitation to 29,000
Concern’s water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) program works to provide better access to clean water and sanitation and increase awareness of healthy hygiene practices in 31 target villages. Hygiene training sessions and distribution of hygiene promotion kits and tools for digging latrines and waste pits reached a total 5,393 households. Concern has empowered WASH committees to actively manage their water systems and carry out hygiene promotion in their communities either through house-to-house visits or community meetings. Thirty-nine planned water points have also been completed, allowing access to clean water for 3,800 households. Soap and buckets were also distributed to 4,776 households. And in support of Concern’s livelihoods program for soap-makers, households were also encouraged to purchase cheap, locally produced soap.
Concern also works to reduce the incidence of malaria and diarrhea in target communities and clinical studies have shown that its work on improving water supply, sanitation, and hygiene, as well as the distribution of mosquito nets, led to a decrease in malaria cases by 26 percent and water-related illnesses by 46 percent.
LIVELIHOODS—Empowering 66 of the poorest villages in the Shamwana, Dubie, and Mwenge areas
A key focus of Concern’s livelihoods program in 2011 was to increase household income of those who needed it the most. Key activities included the distribution of seeds and tools, animal-rearing, and non-farm training such as soap-making, baking, and construction. It has been reported that 741 people who benefited from the seed distribution, having harvested and sold majority of their produce like tomatoes and Chinese cabbage, are now generating much needed household income. Evidence shows that households are generating an average profit of $1–$2, and though this may seem small, $2 is sufficient to send a child to school for four months.
Training in soap-making, baking, and construction was also conducted across villages in Shamwana and Dubie. Almost 220 people, the majority of whom are female and Bashimbi (a minority group often overlooked in DRC) have gone through training exercises, and those most successful in soap-making have been identified and provided raw materials to continue their soap production. They now serve as suppliersof soap for Concern’s WASH program.
EMERGENCY—Meeting the survival needs of thousands of the poorest and most vulnerable
Ongoing conflict in the territory of Masisi continued through 2011, and in response, Concern continued its monthly distribution of towels, bedding, kitchen sets, sanitation kits, and plastic sheeting to the most vulnerable conflict-affected households. Concern also continued to distribute seeds and agricultural tools to 9,280 people as a means of increasing their food security. Cash vouchers were given to 12,634 displaced households to meet their survival needs, and 9,868 people were provided with cash-for-work road rehabilitation opportunities to help them rebuild their lives.
DRC at a glance
Area (sq km): 2,345,000 sq km
Population (millions): 67.8 million
GDP per capita: $300
Infant mortality rate: 199
Life expectancy: 48.4
Living with HIV and AIDS: n/a
Literacy rate: 66.8 percent
Without access to safe water: 55.5 percent
Human development rank: 187 (out of 187)
Global hunger rank/index: 81/39