Our work in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Our work in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Concern Worldwide has been working in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1994. Our focus is on providing humanitarian assistance, water and sanitation, and building livelihoods. Concern is currently implementing programmes in North Kivu, Tanganyika, Haut Lomami and Lomami (Kasai region) provinces.
Since early 2017, violence has escalated in the Kasai region of DRC, displacing more than 1.4 million people to date. Concern, along with its Alliance2015 Partners ACTED and PIN, conducted a joint assessment of the needs. Concern is implementing a cash transfer response in Lomami province and is actively seeking funding to scale up its humanitarian response.
Concern is providing urgent humanitarian assistance to displaced and host communities in response to conflict in North Kivu province. With funding from Irish Aid, we are providing shelter materials and distributing emergency kits – either directly or through fairs – containing essential household items like kitchen utensils, bedding and clothes. Where possible, we also provide cash transfers enabling people to decide themselves how best to meet their immediate needs.
We are also supporting conflict-affected households with short-term Cash-for-Work activities rehabilitating roads and bridges, increasing humanitarian access to remote villages as well as increased access to markets.
In Tanganyika and Haut Lomami provinces, with support from the office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance, we are supporting more than 61,000 displaced and conflict-affected people with access to safe water and sanitation facilities. We are also providing emergency shelter materials to displaced families who have lost their homes in the conflict or have been forced to flee their homes to escape the conflict.
Increasing access to water
Less than 50% of the population in the Democratic Republic of Congo has access to clean water, and only 30% has access to adequate sanitation. With the help of our supporters, we are working hard to improve this situation.
In Tanganyika, with funding from the Department for International Development in the UK and Irish Aid, our work focuses on water and sanitation. We are increasing access to safe water supplies and helping communities improve sanitary conditions, contributing to improved health.
Concern is leading the DRC WASH consortium which aims to promote good practices in hygiene, sanitation, and management of access to water within communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In partnership with ACF, ACTED, CRS and Solidarités International, we aim to support more than 600,000 people with improved access to safe water and sanitation facilities across the country by 2018.
Our WASH (water sanitation and hygiene) consortium has gained recognition for innovation in the field. The Department for International Development’s (DFID) 2016 Annual Review identified a number of areas in which the WASH consortium had excelled:
- Innovation: The Consortium’s innovative implementation of a life-cycle cost approach to the construction of infrastructure allows communities to understand what maintenance and repair costs they are likely to incur over time, and have a discussion over how to pay for those once the time comes. It also allows the community to make their own decision as to whether they can maintain a handpump or only a protected spring.
- “Small-doable actions”: The WASH Consortium has marketed some of the activities that lead to behaviour change as ‘Small-doable actions’. This concept is positive in that it encourages communities and creates a sense of ownership of the changes that are induced by the hygiene promotion activities.
- Effective collaboration with government: The Consortium is successfully engaging and collaborating with local decentralised government structures, supporting them in meeting their responsibilities under the new Water Law.
Moving out of extreme poverty
In January 2017, Concern began a five-year programme in Manono Territory, Tanganyika to help poor households to move themselves out of extreme poverty. Funded by Irish Aid and based on Concern’s Graduation Model, the programme will ultimately support more than 38,000 people, helping them develop more sustainable livelihoods and greater resilience to health shocks and stresses.
As well as receiving regular cash transfers to meet their basic needs, participants take part in training related to their job area and in life skills like nutrition and conflict resolution. Households in the programme are then supported with a capital transfer to jump-start a new venture or job.
Participants also join Village Savings and Loans Associations. This way they can manage risks, build resilience to shocks and avoid resorting to negative coping strategies, such as the sale of necessary assets or removing children from school.
Community support and engagement
Importantly, the programme will also work to improve the participation of women in decision-making by exploring gender equality issues with men and boys. Our engaging men and boys approach encourages discussion on topics such as stereotypical gender roles and identifies positive role models within each community in order to promote behaviour change and address inequalities.
We will also support participating communities on a practical level by improving access to safe water and sanitation facilities and supporting the rehabilitation of roads and bridges.
- Read blogs about the Democratic Republic of Congo
- Read the 2018 Annual Country Plan for the Democratic Republic of Congo
- Download resources about the Democratic Republic of Congo
- Overview presentation for Democratic Republic of Congo WASH consortium
- Read about the DRC WASH consortium at the 2017 WEDC Conference
Keep in touch
We’d love to keep you updated on our work and give you a glimpse into some of the ways your support can help to transform lives.