Democratic Republic of Congo
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, HI promotes access to school for children with disabilities and provides support to people affected by the chronic humanitarian crisis, notably by facilitating access to mental health and functional rehabilitation care.
In 2022, thanks to the support of HI, Dieudonné obtained a prosthesis and is currently undergoing rehabilitation at the Cliniques Universitaires de Kinshasa. | © T. Freteur / HI
HI’s program in the DRC aims to strengthen the inclusion in society of people with disabilities, notably by facilitating their access to health care. To this end, the program's mobile teams provide medical and psychosocial assistance to vulnerable people among both refugee and host communities in North Kivu. HI also raises awareness of disability issues in communities to facilitate the inclusion and support of children with disabilities. Teams train health professionals to take better care of their needs. In order to improve access to humanitarian services for the population, HI is also rehabilitating roads and developing road infrastructures.
HI also works in the field of inclusive education to strengthen access to education for children with disabilities. The program works with communities and government services to improve the early detection of disability and facilitate the care of children, strengthening skills and knowledge of functional rehabilitation and physical therapy services for young children.
Lastly, HI provides support to the most vulnerable in areas affected by a chronic humanitarian crisis. Thus, in the Kasai, the program improves the food security of the affected populations by supporting agricultural recovery to prevent malnutrition. In particular, teams provide training in good agroecological practices and distribute seeds to the communities.
The DRC is facing a major humanitarian and health crisis that affected more than 25.6 million people in 2020, including over 15 million children.
The second largest country in Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo has a history of power struggles over its wealth. This is still the main cause of most of its troubles.
The crisis in the DRC today is the consequence of decades of local and regional insecurity, particularly in the eastern provinces. Over the years, armed conflicts and multiple inter-community violence have left the population very vulnerable. New conflicts emerged in 2016, affecting previously untouched provinces such as Kasai, generating a sharp increase in the number of people in need. In addition, since 2018, repeated epidemics (Ebola, measles, cholera, Covid-19) have broken out and spread in several provinces, undermining an already weakened population and health system. This situation has led to numerous displacements of people within the country and to neighbouring countries. Since the beginning of 2022, more than 877,000 people have been internally displaced. Today, the total number of internally displaced people in the DRC is nearly 4.86 million.
Significant improvements in the socio-economic situation of the DRC, long hoped for by the population, are still not forthcoming, despite the obvious presence of wealth and therefore financial resources. However, progress is visible in terms of life expectancy, school enrolment and gross national income per capita. But this discreet progress in socio-economic indicators does not reflect the reality of much of this vast country, and inequalities remain a major cause for concern in most places. As a result of the COVID-19 epidemic, the Congolese state budget was reduced by 40% between 2020 and 2021, despite already being notoriously insufficient to cover all its prerogatives.
Number of HI staff members: 133
Date the program launched: 1995