DR Congo

USAID Field Report DR Congo Feb 2003

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Other
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 to enhance the informed participation of Congolese society in political and economic decision-making processes that 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 in their collaborative effort with the United Nation's Mission in the Congo (MONUC) to enhance coverage of their 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, Kikongo) radio programs 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 in KinyaRwandan.

Congo en Action pour la Paix (CAP): Small Grants Initiative - Through OTI's implementing partner, CARE, CAP provides grants that encourage support for the Lusaka Peace Accords and agreements of the Inter-Congolese Dialogue. OTI-sponsored activities enhance civil society's outreach and participation in the peace process, develops skills needed for advocacy, and connect like-minded groups and organizations throughout the country. By supporting the peace process, this initiative promotes stability and plays an important role in the reunification of the DRC.

Country Situation

Pretoria Agreement - Since February 24, representatives from the DRC Government, armed opposition movements, political parties, and civil society have gathered again in Pretoria to address pending issues emerging from the Inter Congolese Dialogue (ICD). Two committees were established: the Constitutional Committee and the Defense and Security Committee. These committees are responsible for resolving outstanding issues, including the transitional constitution, the integration of the army, and the development of security measures for political leaders within the transitional government. Participants are optimistic that a transitional government should be in place by April.

Luanda Accord - Instability in the Ituri region continues to delay the start of the Ituri Pacification Commission (IPC), a key component of the September 2002 Luanda Accord. The Luanda Accord provides for the total withdrawal of Ugandan troops from the DRC territory and the normalization of relations between Kinshasa and Kampala by March 2003.

Security Matters - Military tension prevails in Ituri. MONUC reported the movement of troops, particularly Rwandan, and a MONUC Force commander's helicopter was shot at on February 24 just after he had met with Thomas Lubanga to discuss the Ituri Pacification Commission (IPC).

Economic Progress - Free movement of people and goods has been restricted since the outbreak of war. The closure of major commercial traffic on the Congo River for over four years has reinforced the isolation and the poverty of key population centers. Recently, a commercial barge arrived in Kisangani with cargo for CARITAS, a bakery and a palm oil factory.

HIGHLIGHTS

Small Grant's Initiatives - Congo en Action pour la Paix (CAP)

CAP advanced field activities with six local, civil society organizations in the Oriental Province. Activities focus on the provision of balanced information, which will inform targeted populations about progress made on the peace process at the national and local level. CAP program development and implementation has been further enhanced with the establishment of field offices in Kisangani and Bukavu.

CAP Projects Status

Proposals approved:
Current
Cumulative Total
- Number
3
10
- Fund Level (estimate)
$167,350
$508,800

Fondation Hirondelle: Radio Okapi

OTI-funded transmitters have been delivered to Bunia and Beni. Unfortunately, recent events in Ituri have prevented the technical team from connecting them to the Radio Okapi network. Once MONUC flights resume to this area, the team will complete the installation of the transmitters. Progress continues on the scheduled relay station for Lubumbashi. The OTI-funded relay station will be operational by mid-March. Both Kindu and Butembo studios are now fully staffed with journalists, a producer and radio technicians.

The one-year anniversary of Radio Okapi's nationwide launch was marked by a special 24-hour program filled with regional interviews, Vox pop, and debates featuring the Ambassadors of the United States and Switzerland, two of the primary donors to DRC. The radio dedication program "Dedicaces," has succeeded in linking people in isolated communities throughout the country. Due to its overwhelming popularity, the program is scheduled for more airtime in order to permit family members and friends, who had been separated during the war, to reconnect.

Radio Okapi maintains a web site. Interested parties can listen to radio programs by clicking on http://www.monuc.org/radio/.

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

The Chief of Monuc DDRRR military observers received 15 compiled DDRRR radio programs "GUTAHUKA" or "GOING HOME" from Sam Howard to distribute along with the ongoing information campaign. Sensitization campaigns targeting the general Congolese population were produced in French to explain the importance of "GUTAHUKA" in the DRC peace process. Issues such as the use of Kinyarwanda on Radio Okapi were also addressed in the campaign.

NEXT STEPS/IMMEDIATE PRIORITIES

  • Opening of CAP offices in Kindu and Beni/Bunia.

  • Preparation for Washington Administrative staff TDY in April.