By 2030, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) will have the second-highest number of people who are living in extreme poverty (on less than $2.15 per day) in the world. Because so many of the world’s extremely poor will be living in the DRC, poverty reduction efforts in the DRC are increasingly crucial.
Fortunately, although a great deal of work remains to be done, there are already charities doing excellent work to alleviate extreme poverty in the DRC. Here are the top four charities operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including their ratings by charity watch groups and the needs they are addressing.
Doctors Without Borders
Severe conflict and instability have pervaded the DRC since the 1960s. This violence has created an overwhelming need for health care while simultaneously making it incredibly difficult for humanitarian organizations to operate safely in the area. Doctors Without Borders is leading the medical charge by operating in some of the most dangerous regions of the DRC and providing both physical and psychological care to the people in the war-torn eastern area of the country. They also provide other life-saving necessities (such as water and cooking kits) to people in the areas they are in. In 2022, Doctors Without Borders:
- Was the first to respond to last year’s cholera outbreak in the DRC.
- Fought a measles flare-up and vaccinated two million children against measles.
- Administered 2,116,500 outpatient consultations.
- Treated 757,800 malaria cases.
- Fought HIV, tuberculosis and malnutrition.
The second of the four charities operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, ABFEC began with a single couple who live in the DRC. Nevertheless, it now transforms the lives of people affected by violence in the area. As it grew, Action Kivu was developed to support the important work that ABFEC is doing. ABFEC teaches local women entrepreneurial skills and sustainable agricultural techniques while educating the community about HIV/AIDs. Additionally, ABFEC established the Peace School, which teaches nonviolence and is open to disadvantaged children. Although this organization had humble beginnings, it is doing great work in the community.
Action Kivu by the numbers:
- More than 300 women have been provided with vocational education through ABFEC’s programs.
- 100% of Peace School’s high school seniors in 2023 passed the national exam required for them to graduate, outpacing all other schools in the region.
- 1,400 people were tested for HIV.
Eastern Congo Initiative
The Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI) is the third of the four charities operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The ECI addresses the DRC’s ongoing conflict by fighting to reform three areas of life: security, maternal and newborn care and economic opportunities within the DRC. If these issues are properly addressed, the DRC will be well on its way to becoming a stable state. The initiative focuses on advocacy work for the DRC within the U.S., with the goal of bringing the country’s unique issues to the forefront and the light. The ECI also attempts to bridge gaps in information about the DRC’s issues so that a lack of information will not reduce the help that the DRC receives. Further, it assists the people of the DRC by providing grants to local organizations so that they can make a difference in their communities.
In 2021-2022, the Eastern Congo Initiative:
- Started five centers to legally support displaced people.
- Helped start two businesses in the DRC.
- Delivered emergency aid after Mt. Nyiragongo erupted.
- Provided 58 million liters of clean water to people living in the DRC.
The Panzi Foundation
Various armed groups that are fighting in the DRC consistently use rape as a weapon. The Panzi Foundation provides holistic care to the women affected by conflict-related rape in one hospital. This Congo-specific organization has been in operation since 1999, and its methodology has four main elements covering physical, social, economic and legal care.
The Panzi Foundation’s impact by the numbers:
- 85,000 women have been treated by the hospital since it opened.
- 3,500 babies are delivered by the hospital per year.
- The Panzi hospital has a 99.1% live birth rate.
- Almost 500,000 people have been treated for non-specific health issues.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo faces many challenges on the road to reducing its high levels of extreme poverty. However, because so many of the world’s poor are set to reside in the DRC by 2030, focusing on the DRC is critical to reducing global poverty. Doctors Without Borders, the Panzi Foundation, Eastern Congo Initiative and Action Kivu are four charities operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to fight poverty and its contributing factors in the DRC. There is still a lot of work to be done, but the organizations that are already in the DRC are doing fantastic work.
– Abigail Leland