Humanitarian Highlights DRC
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Humanitarian Highlights: DRC – Democratic Republic of Congo

Humanitarians go where help is needed most. They deliver aid, supplies, support, and development programs. Some of the largest humanitarian operations today are in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Here is a summary of the current situation in the DRC and how humanitarians are responding.

The Current Situation in DRC

Congo is one of Africa’s largest countries with a population of 81.5 million. It is also an extremely rich country in terms of valuable resources. Despite this, it is in the bottom ten countries worldwide according to the Human Development Index.

The DRC was plagued by a civil war between 1998 and 2003. Conflict continued in parts of the country until peace agreements were signed in 2013. However, rebel attacks continue today in some areas of the country. As a result, 4.3 million people have been internally displaced. Also, there are high levels of children soldier recruitment.

Besides conflict, the country also faces issues such as gender inequality, economic disparity, and food insecurity. Today, an estimated 1 million people are severely food insecure. The recent Ebola outbreak in 2018 shows strong deficiencies in the public healthcare system. And overall, 13.1 million people in the DRC require urgent humanitarian support.

DRC national flag

Humanitarian Response in Congo

Under the given circumstances the DRC needs much help. Most major organizations have programs set up in the country. Also, there are hundreds of smaller regional and local NGOs providing aid. The programs focus on a wide range of issues.

For example, one of the key areas of humanitarian work in Congo includes governance, peace, and economic stability. Ensuring these is key to advancing in all other aspects where the local population sees needs.

However, alongside providing political stability, women and children represent the most vulnerable populations in the DRC. For this reason, dozens of organizations work to address women’s rights, gender equity, and the prevention of gender-based violence. Also, NGOs work to provide better education, protect children’s rights and end the recruitment of child soldiers.

Another strong area of focus for humanitarian aid in the DRC is health, water, and sanitation. In 2018, many organizations provided emergency response to the latest Ebola outbreak, which claimed hundreds of lives.

Organizations Working in the DRC

As mentioned earlier, there are hundreds of international and local organizations working in Congo. Here are just a few examples of the type of work that’s being implemented.

Oxfam International

Oxfam specializes in 5 areas of humanitarian aid and development in the DRC.

The organization works to advance and protect women’s rights. They also partner with communities and civil society to improve governance. Besides, Oxfam fosters farmer cooperatives to strengthen local livelihoods. Further, they address issues of water and sanitation to improve health. And finally, they provide a humanitarian response on an as-needed basis.

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International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC)

ICRC works to promote international humanitarian law in the DRC and how civilians are treated.

Their main focus is to ensure that those affected by conflict and violence can become self-sufficient and reach a high quality of life. Also, the ICRC works on water and sanitation, as well as health care for the wounded and sick. Finally, the organization seeks to reunite families separated by internal conflict and displacement.

Mercy Corps

Most recently, Mercy Corps focused their efforts on responding to the severe Ebola outbreak in 2018. Besides emergency response, the organizations also work in children’s education and protection. Further, they address issues such as food security and economic opportunities for the local population.

You also might like this article: A Closer Look at Development; Mercy Corps


The focus of Diakonia in the DRC is on governance and human rights. The organizations work closely with the local civil society and other partners. This, to promote Congo’s citizens’ human rights, social and economic justice, and democracy. In cases of emergency, Diakonia provides emergency humanitarian response and disaster reduction.

Save the Children

Education, poverty, and health are three key issues that threaten children’s safety and future in the DRC. For this reason, Save the Children works to protect children, particularly in the most vulnerable communities. They address issues such as child labor, food security, access to education (especially for girls), and children’s health.

Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF)

Some of the largest MSF programs are located in the DRC. The organization is present in 20 of 26 Congolese provinces. They respond to disease outbreaks (most recently Ebola) and provide medical support during conflict and displacement. MSF also addresses health issues such as HIV/AIDs, malaria, malnutrition and women’s health.  

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