The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a vast mineral-rich country that has been caught up in years of conflict, poverty, and lack of respect for human rights. DRC has been ranked 176th out of 187 countries in the 2015 UN Development Index and the country has not met any of the Millennium Development Goals. The poverty rate remains above 80 percent and life expectancy is 58 years old.
Prolonged and recent conflicts in Ituri, North and South Kivu, the Kasaï provinces and Tanganyika have left 13 million people in need of assistance. With 4.5 million people internally displaced, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre has categorized DRC as the country worst affected by conflict displacement in the world. In addition, the country has experienced ten outbreaks of the deadly disease Ebola since 1976 sinking vulnerable communities even deeper in poverty.
Oxfam in DRC
Oxfam has worked in DRC since 1961 and currently operates in six provinces namely North Kivu, South Kivu, Equateur, Ituri, Tanganyika, and Kasai. Our work is mainly focused on humanitarian and development projects in the most vulnerable communities. In the DRC Oxfam is one of the few organizations that can engage in influence and advocacy as drivers of change.
Our vision is a DRC where women and men have a greater capacity to make their voices heard in policies and decisions that affect them, benefit from a responsible government, and access resources to enable them to improve their quality of life.
Playing a leading role as a national humanitarian actor, Oxfam provides time-efficient, high-quality humanitarian assistance to Congolese people affected by crises. We are currently providing clean water and sanitation and emergency food to approximately 700,000 internally displaced people, refugees, and host communities.
Oxfam is providing long-term access to clean drinking water and enabling communities and schools to create their own local schemes to manage and maintain water and sanitation facilities. Together with other organizations we also equip communities with public health and hygiene education to help curb the spread of deadly diseases.
Gender justice and gender equality are integrated into all Oxfam programs in the DRC. We work with women's communities and women's rights organizations to ensure that our programs contribute to behavioral change and empower women to participate in decisions that affect their families and communities.
Over the years Oxfam has been supporting communities to organize themselves in committees able to identify and address protection threats through self-protection mechanisms and advocacy. This approach encourages the local authorities to respect their duty of protection to civilian populations.
Oxfam is helping local farmers to grow crops such as cassava, coffee, beans and soya that are more resistant to diseases and ensure regular supply of food. We are also supporting them to work together in farmers’ groups where they are able to share learning on good agricultural practices including planning their crops and budgeting. Through these groups, they are able to access more and bigger markets where they can sell their produce for a better price.
Linked to the Protection program, our governance-based approach emphasis on the facilitation of positive dialogue between local populations and civilian and military authorities. We prioritize the social advancement of women and support citizens with the knowledge of human rights, confidence, and skills to take action to remedies for abuses.
Oxfam currently works in close collaboration with a large number of national civil society actors and multiple government ministries and departments. Oxfam’s work is funded by a variety of international donors such as the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), Global Affairs Canada (GAC), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), as well as the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO). We also partner with UN agencies such as the World Food Program (WFP), UNICEF and UNFPA.
Crisis in Democratic Republic of Congo: our response
Urgent action is needed now in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Millions of people have been forced from their homes due to conflict and are in dire need of humanitarian assistance. Oxfam is there supplying emergency food and clean water. With your help we can save more lives.