1. The evaluation of the interim country strategic plan (ICSP) for the Democratic Republic of the Congo was conducted between October 2019 and March 2020 and covered WFP strategy, interventions and systems for the period between 2017 and 2019. It served the dual purpose of accountability and learning by assessing the actual results achieved against plans while creating opportunities for learning at the national, regional and corporate levels. The results of the evaluation informed the preparation of the new country strategic plan (CSP) for the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
2. The evaluation took a utilization-focused and consultative approach. During the evaluation’s inception phase, the evaluation team identified four thematic areas of particular relevance to the country that helped define the lines of enquiry for each evaluation question: WFP’s adaptation to extreme conditions in the country; the integration of WFP’s interventions within the humanitarian–development–peace nexus; priority setting and targeting; and strategic partnerships.
3. The main evaluation mission to the Democratic Republic of the Congo took place over three and a half weeks in November and December 2019. It included interviews with a variety of stakeholders in the capital and during two weeks of field visits to WFP intervention areas. The evaluation also included a community mini-survey to explore perceptions of WFP’s performance in targeting and accountability to affected populations. Evaluation findings and recommendations were discussed internally at WFP during an online workshop in March 2020.
4. The evaluation focused on the gender dimension of programmes by recognizing cultural biases, achieving a gender balance in survey respondents, seeking out beneficiary groups of women and girls and analysing results from the perspective of women. Limitations of the evaluation were inconsistencies in outcome-level data among provinces, changes in reporting formats over the evaluation period and restricted access to some field locations and activities because of security constraints and Ebola-related travel restrictions. However, adequate data were available and sufficient sites were visited to offer insights on all priority themes, interventions and processes.
5. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is the second largest country in Africa, endowed with abundant natural resources and a young, highly diverse population of about 84 million people that is expected to double in the next twenty years. Agriculture employs 70 percent of the population and provides 40 percent of gross domestic product. Despite very favourable natural conditions for agriculture, the vast majority of farmers are subsistence farmers and the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a food-deficit country. Decades of poor governance and foreign interference have created fragile situations throughout the country, characterized by dysfunctional institutions with widespread corruption, highly deteriorated public infrastructure and poor public services, recurring conflict and violence mostly linked to natural resources, forced movement of populations, disease outbreaks, limited access to agricultural land and markets and restricted humanitarian access.
6. The Congolese conflicts started in 1996 and constitute one of the world’s most severe prolonged crises. Despite several peace agreements, intermittent cycles of severe conflict continue to affect the eastern provinces. Intercommunal and interethnic conflict is also frequent, and the number of internally displaced persons has steadily increased to 4.5 million. About 0.9 million Congolese have fled the country, while about 0.5 million refugees fleeing violence in neighbouring countries have taken refuge in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since the start of 2018, the country has experienced two separate Ebola outbreaks, first in Equateur Province and then in North Kivu and Ituri provinces. The later outbreak is by far the country's largest on record and is classified as a public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organization (WHO). The country also experienced outbreaks of measles and cholera in 2019.
7. In this context, development indicators remain extremely low, with the Democratic Republic of the Congo ranked 179th of 189 countries on the Human Development Index in 2019 (table 1). An estimated 76.6 percent of the population lives on less than USD 1.90 a day. In 2019, 15.6 million people, including 4.6 million children, were in Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) category 3 or higher (crisis and emergency levels). A further 27 million people were in IPC category 2 (stressed). Stunting affected 43 percent of children under 5, while 8 percent suffered from wasting and 22 percent were underweight. Internally displaced people and returnees affected by armed conflict are the groups most affected by acute food insecurity.