www.solidarites.org

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

Between armed clash and epidemics
3 324 deaths from the 10th Ebola virus epidemic between 2018 and 2019
3,4 million of children under 5 in eastern DRC are suffering from malnutrition
1st country in Africa in terms of internally displaced people (2nd in the world)
1 900 000 people helped

Context

The DRC is plagued by chronic conflicts, mainly caused by the diversity and richness of natural resources in certain regions.

In 2019, with elections marking the first peaceful transfer of power in the country’s history and a decrease in violence in some provinces, such as the Kasaïs and Tanganyika, armed conflicts have intensified in other regions, particularly in Ituri and North and South Kivu.

Since the beginning of 2020, the humanitarian situation has deteriorated due to an increase in population movements and protection incidents as a direct result of the escalation of conflicts, particularly in the provinces of Ituri, North Kivu and Tanganyika. Eastern DRC is particularly affected. Indeed, the continued presence of more than 140 armed groups in North and South Kivu, Maniema, Tanganyika, and Ituri, as well as intercommunity conflicts, constitute a permanent threat to the population.

Despite the peace agreement signed in 2013, armed clashes persist and combine with other factors, such as chronic poverty, a high malnutrition rate, the prevalence of recurring epidemics, a volatile political situation, competition for natural resources, climate change, and natural hazards (volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and floods). All of these factors lead to a prolonged humanitarian crisis: it is estimated that 15.6 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance (including 3.5 million people in North Kivu and 2.4 million in Ituri), 58% of whom are children.

A total of 5.2 million people are estimated to be displaced in the country, with North Kivu, Ituri, South Kivu, Kasai and Tanganyika being the regions most affected. As a result of the armed conflict, Ituri is host to approximately 2.7 million displaced persons, and North Kivu to 1.6 million. The DRC also has 1.9 million returnees, who return to their homes after displacement. On the other hand, more than 538,000 Congolese nationals are seeking refuge in neighboring countries (Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda).

Insecurity thus generates displacement and loss of property and access to fields, even though subsistence and resale agriculture represents the main source of household income (the majority of them are engaged in farming). As a result, displaced people represent a significant percentage of the population in a food crisis and acute food crisis situation.

Official figures estimate that approximately 15.6 million people are faced with food insecurity (in crisis and emergency situation), of which 3.4 million children suffering from acute malnutrition. This is considered the second largest food crisis in the world. This situation is mainly the result of conflicts between armed groups, weak infrastructure limiting agricultural and economic activities in rural areas and also disastrous climatic conditions. In addition, people in need are often in remote areas of difficult access for humanitarian actors.

Thus, 5.5 million people, mostly children, are in need of nutritional care, a situation that is likely to be exacerbated by the negative impact of COVID-19 on household incomes and the adoption of negative survival strategies (reduction in the number of meals per day, or the size and nutritional quality of rations). Since there is evidence that childhood diseases (measles, malaria, acute respiratory infections, etc.) can contribute to the development of acute malnutrition in children, efforts to combat malnutrition in children must therefore be accompanied by the fight against infectious diseases.

Currently, the country is facing several epidemics, including cholera, Ebola, measles, malaria and now COVID-19.

Every year, the DRC suffers recurrent cholera epidemics, and the year 2020 is no exception, with nearly 5 million people living in areas at risk of cholera. At the end of 2019, 28,000 suspected cases of cholera were identified throughout the year.

In addition, in 2018-2020, DRC experienced one of its worst Ebola epidemics, with a tragic death toll of 2,277.

Furthermore, measles and malaria continue to wreak havoc in the DRC, with 269,000 suspected cases of measles throughout 2019 (59,370 cases and 781 deaths between January and May 2020), and 16.5 million reported cases of malaria over the same period, respectively.

Finally, the global COVID-19 pandemic has not spared the DRC, which counted 11,300 cases notified in November 2020, following the first case declared in March 2020. This pandemic has put a strain on social services, especially access to health care. The Humanitarian Response Plan 2020-2021 (updated in July 2020) estimates that the number of people in need of protection and humanitarian assistance in the country could rise to 25.6 million, as they are at risk of being affected by the COVID-19 epidemic.

Diseases are becoming increasingly prevalent in the country due to the failure of the health system, unsafe hygiene practices and the lack of clean water supplies for displaced people. In the view of the COVID-19 epidemic, the needs of the displaced people have increased, while compliance with essential hygiene measures and barrier actions is a real challenge in displacement sites and in host families of displaced persons, where crowding is high and access to water and basic sanitation is limited. These populations affected by recurrent outbreaks of disease require improved access to health and water, hygiene and sanitation (WASH) services in order to strengthen community engagement and existing infrastructure and avoid new outbreaks of disease, and by extension severe disruption to livelihoods.

Thus, these different crises, resulting from the superposition of several triggering factors, are extremely dynamic and require a high level of responsiveness on the part of humanitarian actors. At the same time, insecurity and increased criminality continue to complicate access for humanitarian actors.

  • 99.9 millions inhabitants
  • 77% of population under the international poverty line
  • 176th out of 189 on the Human Development Index

Our action

  • Mission
    opened in 2000
  • Team 18 international staff
    175 national staff
  • Budget 12.8M€

Present in the DRC for 20 years, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL intervenes in emerging and recurring crisis areas by meeting the basic needs of the most vulnerable people.

The projects are implemented in the provinces of Ituri and North Kivu, areas which alone account for the majority of population movements and the largest presence of internally displaced persons in the country. It is in this context that four rapid response projects to population movements are being carried out in 2020. In practical terms, these are emergency multisectoral interventions, triggered very quickly in order to meet the immediate needs of populations affected by the armed confrontations.

The water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) component aims to provide immediate assistance to the most vulnerable populations who have been displaced, through awareness-raising on good hygiene and water treatment practices to reduce the risk of diarrheal diseases, the construction/rehabilitation of emergency and semi-durable latrines and showers, garbage holes and drinking water sources.

The food security component aims to provide a rapid and effective response to the vital needs of people in situation of acute food insecurity, through cash transfers (cash/voucher for access to food) and seeds distribution, in a dynamic revival plan of local market, empowerment and independence.

Assistance to displaced populations who are victims of shock, to populations exposed to multiple epidemic risks (Cholera, COVID-19, Ebola) as well as the reduction of the prevalence of waterborne diseases remain a priority within the framework of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) interventions. That’s why, in 2020, three projects have been focused on the cholera response in DRC, two on the Ebola response and two on the COVID-19 response.

At the same time, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL’s humanitarian response is based on integrated and multisectoral projects that are sustainable over time. Indeed, the objective of rehabilitation of vulnerable populations, while making the link with emergency interventions, must aim at a sustainable positive change. There are nine such projects for the year 2020.

Finally, the desire to create more systematic alliances with international and national NGOs, particularly in the eastern arc of the DRC, allows SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL to propose effective and relevant interventions, capable of contributing to the strengthening of the community resilience as well as the stability of the intervention zones.

Our impact

Emergency response to population movements

1 915 914 beneficiaries

– Emergency drinking water supply
– Construction of emergency latrines, showers and garbage holes
– Pre-positioning and distribution of essential household kits
– Donation of essential goods
– Organization of fair days
– Distribution of food rations
– Training of community relays and management committees for water points and sanitation infrastructures
– Support for the reconstruction of shelters using the cash for shelter methodology
– Participatory analysis of risks, vulnerabilities and capacities in the event of population movement

water sanitation

Water, sanitation and hygiene

647 204 beneficiaries

– Creation and training of management committees for water points and latrines
– Construction and rehabilitation of water points
– Emergency chlorination: chlorination of water points and installation of chlorination points
– Latrine and household disinfection
– Distribution of water purifiers
– Replacement of pipes
– Commissioning of hyper hydrants
– Hygiene awareness sessions door-to-door and in schools
– Training of community outreach workers

food security

Food security and livelihoods

166 719 beneficiaries

– Distributions and agricultural input fairs
– Training on sustainable agricultural practices
– Setting up cash-for-work activities
– Implementation of Income Generating Activities
– Distribution of seeds and agricultural tools
– Unconditional monetary assistance
– Support to special groups (AVEC)

Should you have any questions, please contact Justine Muzik Piquemal.

Justine Muzik Piquemal

In the world

Vacancies

15
At head office
69
Worldwide
9
Internships