Saturday, January 31, 2015

Much aid, little long-term impact in Democratic Republic of Congo

IRIN: Aid agencies have sunk hundreds of millions of dollars into eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in the past two decades. But seeing little long-term impact or prospect of stability, some are now calling for an overhaul of the way aid is delivered in the long-troubled region.

Eastern DRC has been plagued by war and instability since 1994, when thousands of ethnic Hutus, including soldiers and militias responsible for the Rwandan genocide, poured over the border from Rwanda. Conflicts over land and resources have displaced millions of Congolese, many of them repeatedly.

The UN says there were about 2.7 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in DRC in 2014, the majority of them in the east. Aid workers are also bracing for an expected military offensive by UN and government forces against a long-standing rebel group in North Kivu that will likely prompt tens of thousands more impoverished Congolese to flee their homes.

The calls for change come just as officials in DRC’s North Kivu province press for the closure of IDP camps, and as donors cut back funding for a region whose intractable problems have been overshadowed by newer crises, from the war in Syria to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

...The three-year NRC project, funded bythe British government, is one of several initiatives seeking better understanding of how people experience and adapt to displacement. The research should help make aid groups more effective in helping both IDPs and host communities rebound from shocks.

Other humanitarian groups have similarly begun searching for ways to help entire communities better deal with the endless waves of violence and displacement, even as they scramble to keep the immediate victims alive....

A 2008 Danish aid delivery to Democratic Republic of Congo, shot by Julien Harneis, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 1.0 Generic license. 

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