A vast country with immense economic resources, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been plagued by internal strife and corruption since achieving independence in 1960. Today, it is struggling to recover from twelve years of war and civil strife in which millions died, mostly through starvation and disease. The country’s mineral wealth fuelled fighting, with all sides plundering natural resources. Despite the formation of a transitional power-sharing government in 2003, militia violence continues in the eastern regions.
DWS started activity in the DRC in 1994 in response to the massive influx of refugees fleeing the Rwandan genocide. DWS intensified its presence over the following decade during which intermittent war and continuing insecurity caused massive civilian displacement. DWS also responded to natural disasters such as the 2002 volcanic eruption that destroyed a large part of Goma.
From 2002 to 2009, DWS operated in the DRC under the auspices of its Rwanda-DRC program, managed from Kigali. Now a full country program, DWS DRC activities cover vast areas in the North Kivu and Oriental Provinces in the eastern part of the country.
Current focus areas are:
- Food security for returnees, displaced persons and host families
- Nutrition programs
- Water and sanitation
- Schools and maternity hospitals
- Psychosocial activities
DWS DRC distributes seeds and tools to returnees, displaced persons and their host families. Experienced technicians follow agricultural activities and provide advice as needed.
The program feeds malnourished children in return and displacement areas while teaching parents about adequate nutrition. DWS DRC also provides parents with the means to produce nutritious, protein-rich foods.
Water and Sanitation
DWS DRC constructs and rehabilitates water facilities in areas with a high population of displaced persons. The program also stresses the importance of sanitation and environmental awareness, and promotes the construction of hygienic latrines.
Schools and Maternity Hospitals
The program renovates and provides equipment for schools and maternity hospitals in disrepair. This reconstruction work enables women to give birth in decent conditions and children to receive a formal education, thus improving their chances of success later in life.
The program organizes activities designed to help survivors of sexual violence and others traumatized by war-related violence to recover from their experiences and rebuild their lives.
An environmental development project marks the beginning of DWS DRC’s longer-term involvement in the country. The project strives to equip the Kubagu people living in the rain forest near Kisangani with the means to improve their living conditions and practice environmentally friendly agriculture.
For further information please contact:
Dr Colette Bouka-Coula, Program Officer
Mr Emile Mputu Mpanya, Country Representative