DR Congo

USAID Field Report Democratic Republic of Congo Dec 2002

Source
Posted
Originally published
United States Agency for International Development
Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance
Office of Transition Initiatives
Program Description

USAID/OTI's goal in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is the informed participation of Congolese society in political and economic decision-making processes to contribute to a peaceful, unified, and democratic country. USAID/OTI is supporting the following activities to achieve this goal.

Radio Okapi: DRC National Radio Initiative - OTI supports Fondation Hirondelle and the United Nation's Mission in the Congo (MONUC) to enhance coverage of their recently established national radio initiative, Radio Okapi. This component of OTI's program expands Radio Okapi's broadcast capability to ten locations (adding Bunia and Bukavu) instead of the eight original broadcast sites, and adds four new relay stations (Lubumbashi, Mbuji Mayi, Butembo and Manono) to assure continuous, all day short wave and FM broadcasts. The station's local language (Lingala, Swahili, Tshiluba and Kikongo) radio programs will disseminate information about humanitarian assistance, the peace process, and disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, reintegration and resettlement (DDRRR). Within the context of Radio Okapi, OTI is supporting a trained radio producer, through Search for Common Ground, to develop objective programming to support the DDRRR phase of the peace process.

Small Grants Initiative - Through OTI's implementing partner, CARE, this initiative will provide grants that encourage support for the Lusaka Peace Accords and agreements of the Inter-Congolese Dialogue. OTI-sponsored activities will enhance civil society's outreach and participation in the peace process, develop skills needed for advocacy, and connect like-minded groups and organizations throughout the country and the diaspora. By supporting the peace process, this initiative will promote stability and will play an important role in the reunification of the DRC.

Country Situation

Pretoria Agreement - On December 17, the government of Kinshasa, rebel groups, civil society representatives, and the unarmed opposition signed a global and inclusive transitional agreement on power sharing, the creation of a government of national unity, and the conclusion of the four-year war.

However, violent conflict resurfaced in the east of the country on December 21. Ituri province experienced renewed clashes between Roger Lumbala's Rassemblement Congolais pour la Democratie - Nationale (RCD-N), backed by Jean Pierre Bemba's Mouvement de Liberation du Congo (MLC), and Mbusa Nyamwisi's Rassemblement Congolais pour la Democratie - Mouvement de Liberation (RCD-ML), backed by the Government of Kinshasa. Uvira also experienced clashes between RCD-Goma and Maï Maï militia. Humanitarian organizations in the east estimate that up to 200,000 Congolese were displaced and hundreds died in these renewed clashes.

Gbadolite Accord - On December 30, in an attempt to end recent clashes in the east, the MLC and its allied group the RCD-N and the Government backed RCD-ML signed a ceasefire agreement. Despite this agreement, clashes continue.

Deployment of MONUC - The UN Security Council passed UNSC Resolution 1445 to increase MONUC deployment from 5,700 to 8,700 military personnel.

HIGHLIGHTS

A. Programmatic Summary

Fondation Hirondelle: Radio Okapi With the delivery of transmission equipment to Butuembo, progress continued on the installation of an FM relay station. Radio Okapi enhanced their direct feed link between Kinshasa and Kisangani with a new satellite signal to replace the mobile telephone link previously used. Radio Okapi maintains a web site and interested parties can listen to radio programs by clicking on http://www.monuc.org/radio/.

Small Grant's Initiative: Congo en Actíon pour la Paix (CAP)

CAP Proposal Review Status

Received
Pending
Accepted
Rejected
81
15
1
N/A to date

CAP staff began an extended visit to Kindu, Kisangani, Bukavu and Goma in Eastern Congo to introduce the CAP Program and to encourage local organizations to submit project proposals in line with CAP objectives.

In the month of December, CAP staff reviewed proposals received by potential partner organizations and identified those project ideas responding to CAP criteria for funding. Various groups from Kisangani, Bukavu, Maniema, Equator, South Kivu and North Kivu submitted 81 proposals to CAP for review.

Disarmament, Demobilization, Repatriation, Reintegration and Resettlement (DDRRR)

DDRRR producer Sam Howard completed a survey in the eastern DRC to assess the access and impact of the DDRRR Radio program "Gutahuka" in eastern DRC, and to identify ways in which the DDRRR Unit of MONUC and Radio Okapi can enhance their targeted messages. The areas of Lubero, Goma, Bukavu, Mutobu and Kigali were surveyed because of their relevance to the DDRRR process. The survey found that the Radio Okapi signal was available in Bukavu and Goma, but difficult to receive on short wave in Lubero. The survey also found that many of the combatants in the bush do not have access to radio and were not able to listen to Okapi. A Lubero priest remarked "some of the combatants would like to sign up for disarmament and repatriation but don't know what the process entails." The Radio OKAPI short wave signal is also not reaching the DDRRR communities of Mutobo and Kigali. As a result, the surveyed population in these areas does not know about the "Gutahuka" program. Those surveyed liked the objective of the DDRRR radio programming and its potential impact, but because of their difficulty accessing the signal, they are becoming less interested in participating in the development of programming (i.e. providing interviews, etc.)

The survey provided the following suggestions to enhance the impact of the DDRRR radio programming:

  • Enhance the Radio Okapi shortwave signal so that it reaches all DDRRR target audiences both inside and outside the DRC;

  • Purchase and distribute short wave radios for the DDRRR target audience;

  • Encourage the government and rebel leaders to make declarations on various radio stations across the country about the importance of "Gutahuka" to ensure a countrywide and regional listening audience.
NEXT STEPS/IMMEDIATE PRIORITIES
  • CAP scheduled to issue its first series of grants in January.
  • OTI/CARE prepare for eastern trip from 17 to 24 January.
  • Radio Okapi Butembo relay station in service in early January.
For further information, please contact:

In the DRC: Kury Cobham, Country Representative, e-mail: kcobham@usaid.gov; telephone: ++243 990 9936.

In Washington, D.C.: Patrick Wingate, Program Manager, e-mail: pwingate@usaid.gov; telephone: (202) 712-0827.