DRC: Project to Support Stabilization and Conflict Prevention in North Kivu
The aim of the Joint Programme was to improve security and stability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo's troubled province of North Kivu. The programme adopted a holistic and multi-sectoral approach to assist 70,000 returnees and victims of sexual violence to reintegrate into their communities and to equitably manage the natural resources that are at the heart of the conflict there – improving their ability to produce their own food, bring it to market and build their livelihoods.
The programme's originality lay in the fact that it tackled human and environmental security within a single programme, with an emphasis on the management of the natural resources. Women were at the centre of all phases of the programme, representing 50% of the participants.
The programme focused on:
- Achieving the sustainable social and economic integration into their communities of all kinds of returnees -- ex-combatants, displaced persons and refugees -- as well as women victims of sexual violence, and promoting the economic revitalization of communities.
- Boosting the capacity of communities to absorb returnees by increasing the coverage of basic social services to all residents, as a way to lower tensions and create a welcoming environment for returnees.
- Strengthening and /or creating dynamic community-based mechanisms for preventing and resolving conflicts.
Main achievements included:
- The establishment of three Community Protection committees and the organization of 13 campaigns to sensitize the Armed Forces and the Congolese National Police around civil protection. The civilian population in the three areas of intervention was also sensitized through the very successful use of community radio.
- The reintegration of 7,500 returnees, especially men and women ex-combatants, IDPs, women associated with armed forces and groups, and women victims of sexual violence. Direct support was given to 1250 heads of the most vulnerable households, with a priority given to female heads of households and mothers.
- The revitalization of local economies, affecting an estimated 100,000 people.
- Agricultural production was revived and enhanced to create economic alternatives to recruitment by militias of men and boys. Some 18,000 people benefited via direct support to 3,000 heads of households. The construction of markets assisted in the commercializing of agricultural production.
- The food crop and horticultural sectors were strengthened to benefit vulnerable populations, mostly women returnees. High quality technical support helped sharply increase productivity and facilitated the marketing of half of the produce. Farmers reinvested their profits but also used them to pay for school fees and medical expenses.
- Government health facilities were rehabilitated through the construction and equipping of health posts and centers and the training of health personnel.
- Public health was improved through the promotion of good hygiene habits and increased access to safe drinking water and sanitation (12 blocks of latrines and eight blocks of showers were built in health centers, and latrines were built in markets, schools and more than 3,500 households).
- Access to and quality of education was boosted through the construction and equipping of schools, training of teachers, principals and parents committees. Seven schools were built with six classrooms each, 56 school administrators were trained, and 2,800 student kits, 7 teaching kits and 7 recreational kits were distributed.