Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has one of the highest maternal death rates in the world, with 846 per 100,000 live births
According to the World Health Organization, the country has 0.28 physicians and 1.91 nurses/midwives per 10,000 people
Today, the total number of internally displaced people in DRC has reached 5.1 million, which is the highest number of any country on the African continent. North Kivu Province remains the most affected, accounting for over 1.6 million displaced persons as of April 2020.
In 2019, DRC ranked 179 out of 189 countries on the Human Development Index. This study rates a country on three key dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, being knowledgeable and having a decent standard of living.
DRC is currently experiencing the second highest hunger crisis in the world, following Yemen. In the last three years, the number of people experiencing hunger has doubled to over 15 million, with 3 million children suffering from acute malnutrition. (Norwegian Refugee Council, May 2020)
46 percent of children under five years are stunted and chronically malnourished (USAID)
It is estimated that one in three women has suffered from sexual violence, according to aid workers in the region. Doctors estimate that nearly one in four men in eastern DRC has been raped. (Aljazeera, April 2020)
Since 2015, we have been providing aid in the North Kivu region of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. We have served this region through medical clinics, feeding for malnourished children, sponsoring emergency surgeries for those in need, psychological and spiritual counseling and small scale income generating projects. From this experience, we have seen how expensive DRC is to work in, how the needs never stop and how our investment in this country needs to be long term and more strategic.
Since the 1800s this region has experienced vicious rule by outside forces. The country of Congo was colonized by Belgium and since receiving its independence in 1960, has been ruled by corrupt leaders. Exploitation of natural resources in the region is the root cause of unrest and violence. Much of this conflict is from bordering Rwanda’s Hutu and Tutsi military groups from Ugandan terrorist groups. The ongoing fighting has left millions of people in a state of constant displacement.
When conflict rises up people run from their homes and farms to jungle land and then over weeks or months try to make their way back to whatever still stands at their home land. Subject to torture from forced labor, abduction, slavery, dismemberment and sexual assault, the Congolese are left scarred, with no foreseen end to this war. This process has repeated itself throughout the years and produces a lack of access to food, medical care, stable education and overall a hurting economy.
In response to the enormous need, various international aid groups have come to the assistance of the Congolese. Unfortunately without a viable education, health care or government system, the food distributions and medical treatments have kept people alive but provided few solutions.This has created dependency on outside intervention. Insecurity has consistently uprooted international programs and consequently ended the aid that people need. When the international groups leave, conditions worsen immediately, leaving the people with no way to fight for themselves.