Aid to the DRCOngoing conflict and persistently high poverty levels in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have spurred the active involvement of both non-governmental and government organizations in the United Kingdom (U.K.) over several years. These organizations have dedicated their efforts to providing essential aid to those affected by poverty and assisting displaced victims of conflict in the region.

The UK’s Involvement in the DRC 

The U.K. has for years been actively involved in the DRC to help protect those who are financially vulnerable and those vulnerable due to continuous conflict across the country. There are many ways in which the U.K.’s aid to the DRC has happened. 

Between 2014 and 2022, the U.K. actively implemented the ‘Supporting Peace and Stability in Eastern DRC‘ program, which yielded significant contributions toward conflict reduction and community stabilization in the region. Throughout the program’s duration, it allocated more than £55 million in funding across various critical areas. These areas encompassed civilian peacebuilding, conflict prevention and resolution, security system management and reform, rural development and active participation in international peacekeeping operations. Notably, the program prioritized the promotion of gender equality as one of its overarching objectives.

The New Humanitarian Program Aiding Conflict

In recent times, the U.K.’s aid to the DRC has continued. In May 2023, the U.K. government announced that it would provide a humanitarian package for the DRC worth £21 million to support the citizens of the DRC who have been negatively impacted by their surroundings. The conflict has taken place in the form of internal and external conflict, with regional tensions leading to the displacement of 465,000 people in 2022 in the Kivu region. The external conflict has risen through the political problems between the DRC and Rwanda. The U.K.’s constant support has proven to be of massive help to those who need it within the country. 

There has been continuous work by the U.K. government throughout the years. It has continued to work with the government of the DRC to create national strategies in alignment with government objectives. 

Non-Government Organizations

The U.K.’s aid to the DRC has also come from non-government organizations with success. ActionAid U.K. has worked in the DRC since 1987. In addition, it has continued its long-term program, especially in North and South Kivu provinces, focusing on preventing the occurrence of sexual violence and providing agricultural tools to help communities build and stabilize themselves to be able to produce. It has provided training throughout the years, teaching women about sexual health and the police and military about stopping sexual violence. Overall, Action Aid actively works to ensure that communities can sustain themselves. 

Aid from non-government and governmental bodies in the DRC tends to focus on the provision of basic needs and facilities, such as helping the education sector by encouraging more children to get into education, the provision of health care where many do not have access to it in due to the citizens of DRC not having the money to afford health care and the lack of health care in areas experiencing conflict. So far, the U.K.’s aid to the DRC has positively impacted the citizens of the country. 

– Christelle Wealth-Mukendi
Photo: Flickr

Rich in natural resources and dense rainforests, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a vibrant and beautiful country located in central Africa. The country struggles with many socioeconomic problems that severely impact the majority of the population. High infant and maternal mortality rates, malnutrition, lack of clean water sources and limited access to education contribute to high levels of poverty. According to the United Nations Development Programme, approximately 77 percent of the population lives on less than $1.90 a day, meaning that close to 64 million individuals live below the poverty line. Millions are in need and three key organizations have met some of those needs by providing humanitarian aid in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Solidarités International
Solidarités International began its work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2000. Its mission is to lower the prevalence of cholera in the country. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a nation in which cholera is endemic. The conflict between armed militia and the central government has contributed to the high rates of the disease due to lack of clean drinking water for individuals  displaced by the violence. Solidarités International developed an epidemic warning system by partnering with communities and local authorities. It also rehabilitates and disinfects water sources to prevent more outbreaks of cholera. The organization has established a home chlorination program that uses chlorinated solutions produced by local Congolese, helping to empower and lift individuals out of poverty. Solidarités International has provided humanitarian aid in the Democratic Republic of Congo by assisting close to one million individuals.

International Rescue Committee 
The International Rescue Committee began working in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1996. It provides a wide variety of services and support to individuals primarily in Eastern Congo, including emergency assistance. The IRC is also committed to training health and government workers, assisting with rehabilitation and providing essential medical services. It has trained thousands of teachers, giving nearly 500,000 Congolese children access to basic education. Violence against women and girls is widespread throughout the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the IRC provides not only counseling and medical services to survivors of sexual assault, but also legal assistance. The organization’s humanitarian aid in the Democratic Republic of the Congo assisted 2.3 million people in 2015, and its goal is to reach 8.4 million by 2020.

Justice Rising
Justice Rising has one mission — to bring peace to communities affected by war. While the organization is fairly new, its work has had profound impacts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Justice Rising currently has a few schools throughout the country. One school, La Lampe, is located in a former refugee camp for internally displaced persons. The school was recently studied by the Congolese government and was said to be the “first truly successful school in the region.”

Justice Rising has also introduced what it calls “The Storytelling Movement” in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 2014, the organization’s psychologist came to the country and trained a team of individuals to address trauma. Narrative Exposure Therapy training or “The Storytelling Movement” can help survivors give a voice to some of their most painful experiences. According to research studies, when individuals are able to tell their stories, the psychological impact of trauma may decrease.

These three organizations have provided necessary humanitarian aid in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and their work has impacted millions of individuals in need. However, the country is still in need of further support, as millions are still living in poverty.

— Sarah Jane Fraser

Photo: Flickr