DR Congo

USAID Field Report Democratic Republic of Congo Nov 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 contributes 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

Lusaka Accord - The UN Security Council adopted a resolution agreeing to increase MONUC troops from 4,309 to 8,700. South Africa and Bangladesh will provide the peacekeepers, and France will provide logistical support.

The Inter Congolese Dialogue (ICD), a product of the Lusaka Accord, continued in Pretoria from November 15 and was postponed on November 23 due in part to the November 10 clashes in Ankoro, North Katanga between the Maï-Maï militia and the government army. It was reported that 104 civilians were killed and 75,000 persons were displaced. The dialogue is scheduled to resume on December 9. Pretoria Accord - MONUC completed the first phase of rapatriation of the former Rwandan combatants located in Kamina. A total of 677 people, including 375 former fighters and 302 relatives (women and children) were repatriated to Rwanda.

Luanda Accord - President Joseph Kabila and President Yoweri Museveni evaluated the level of application of the Luanda peace agreement during a tripartite summit organized in Dar es Salam by Tanzanian President Benjamin Kapa. They declared their readiness to organize a conference in support of peace in the Ituri district. Such a conference would call together the representatives of the DRC and Ugandan Governments, MONUC, various ethnic, military, political, and social forces in this region, as well as observers from the Angolan Government and the African union. Meanwhile, 500,000 IDPs have fled ongoing fighting between the Hema and Lendu in Ituri district.

Economic Progress - The African Development Fund has agreed to fund the DRC Government with US $4.26 million for public investments and Emergency Multisectoral Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Programs.

HIGHLIGHTS

A. Programmatic Summary

Fondation Hirondelle: Radio Okapi - Okapi journalists continued coverage of the Pretoria peace talks, filing live bulletins in four out of five broadcast languages. Interviews with delegates were central to Okapi magazine programs, most notably Dialogue Entre Congolais (Dialogue between Congolese). Journalists traveled to Pretoria to cover the summit between Presidents Kabila, Kagame, and Mbeki. Live interviews were featured daily in news bulletins and in magazine programs, including a program on the Inter Congolese Dialogue. A new magazine program, GUTAHUKA, focussed on DDRRR and aired on November 11. Italian short-wave specialist Daniele Taliani returned to Kinshasa to fine tune short-wave transmitters, which had not been functioning correctly. Tests were initiated with MONUC's communications department to improve the quality of the FM signal in the region. Following the tests, a new satellite distribution system for the region is to be installed in November. 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) - During the third month of programming, CAP continued to network aggressively with national and international NGOs as well as with bilateral and multilateral organizations in both Eastern Congo and Kinshasa. As a result, additional ideas and potential partner organizations were identified and a list of possible grants was circulated. Specifically, CAP moved forward on program concepts to support the establishment of sectoral commissions, which were unanimously agreed upon in Sun City. Additionally, CAP provided support to several media specialists to increase coverage of the recent Pretoria talks.

Disarmament, Demobilization, Repatriation, Reintegration and Resettlement (DDRRR) - November marked the launching of GUTAHUKA, Radio Okapi programming devoted to DDRRR. This first set of programming highlighted the ongoing DDRRR activities in Kamina, Southeast DRC, Kigali and Mutobo, Rwanda. The objective of this initial campaign was to encourage Rwandan combatants in the DRC to disarm and demobilize for repatriation to Rwanda. In support of this objective, Okapi produced 10 fifteen-minute programs in KinyaRwanda. The programs included Rwandan ex-combatant testimonies denouncing war, family greetings, messages from officials of the Rwandan and DRC governments, and messages related to MONUC's DDRRR's activities. The program was broadcast for two weeks.

Due to the overwhelming positive response to the program, GUTAHUKA expanded from 15 to 26 minute programming. Translations from KinyaRwanda to French and Swahili were also added.

SUCCESS STORIES

Within two months, Sam Howard has been able to mobilize and develop quality programming for regular airing on issues related to DDRRR. The national editor of Radio Okapi, Stephanie Wolters, described Howard's efforts as "unbelievable" considering the time normally needed to initiate such a program.

NEXT STEPS/IMMEDIATE PRIORITIES

  • Radio Okapi is scheduled to conduct a listener's survey in December.

  • CAP movement on numerous grant proposals developed from a recent trip to Eastern DRC.

  • OTI staff trip to Katanga Province.
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.