DR Congo is a paradox, in that it is rich in natural
resources yet is one of the ten poorest countries in the world. Its population has to put up with violence, disease, hunger and the mass displacement of people caused by 15 years of civil wars and cross-border conflicts. Partly though impunity and political impotence, conflicts over natural resources have continually flared up there, and East Congo remains a hotbed of unrest. However, in February 2013, 11 African countries endorsed an agreement to promote peace and security in DR Congo.
A prolonged lack of government investment means that basic services such as education and healthcare are sorely lacking. Most people living there have to endure chronic food insecurity and agricultural production is too low. A lack of security and poor infrastructure are limiting access to the market and farmers cannot seek the help of investments funds.
Women are the driving force of the local economy. They have practically no say in how their country is run, but they are doing their utmost to improve their position. Domestic and sexual violence against women is rife and it affects families, friends and fellow villagers.
Cordaid in Congo DRC
A just and stable Congo, in which the governments accept their responsibilities use their rights and meet their obligations. Where citizens participate in decision-making, and are in a position from which they can improve their living conditions. These are some of the things Cordaid is striving for in Congo. Public order must be reinstated so that it can serve the people. Strengthening the core of the country’s society will allow it to function from a position of control.
Cordaid has been active in DR Congo since the 1970s and has an extensive network of partner organizations at its disposal there. Cordaid wants the people of DR Congo to once again be able to contribute to the development of their country’s basic facilities and work towards peace, safety and justice. This is why, in collaboration with societal organizations, Cordaid is simultaneously active in several areas: from obtaining transparency in the exploitation of raw materials to improving the status and welfare of women and children. Stimulating women’s leadership is a crucial element in rebuilding society. A strong focus is placed on partner organizations whose efforts are improving the position of women and the victims of sexual violence.
Broadly speaking, three strategies are being followed in DR Congo: combating poverty (access to healthcare, education, food markets, financing for small businesses); tackling impunity (breaking through the culture of violence), and installing effective governance (being heard, the right to political participation, particularly for women).