DR Congo

USAID/OTI DR Congo program description

News and Press Release
Originally published
FY 2005 Budget - $6.2 million

Five years of brutal conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has claimed more than three million lives and displaced an additional 3.2 million individuals. Africa's First World War, as it has come to be known, has destabilized the Great Lakes region of Africa and devastated the Congolese civilian population. Whole communities have been destroyed through brutal acts of kidnappings, rapes, executions and mass killings and basic social and economic infrastructures are shattered.

Isolation between regions and villages is one of the impediments to Congolese involvement in the advancement of the political transition. After 40 years of near total neglect, the remnants of colonial infrastructure have collapsed with the remaining rebel forces living off the land through acts of extortion and petty theft.

Due to rebel movements and limited access to media, the free flow of people, goods and information is challenged, thus hampering socio-economic growth. Scarce and inaccurate information facilitates the continued manipulation of the population by rumors and propaganda and with few opportunities to exchange views; it is difficult to hold a broader countrywide dialogue about the future of the Congo.

With the establishment of the new Transitional Government and other institutions, it is felt for the first time in 30 years that the country is on a positive road to peace and democratic governance. However, the political transition will not move forward without addressing the communities' need to have access to resources, information and the expertise necessary which will allow them to reconstruct their lives.

Program Goals and Objectives

  • Contribute to a more stable environment in war-torn communities

  • Increase the number of war affected youth who are reintegrated into host communities;

  • Increase awareness of and/or participation on issues key to the transition process.
Program Activities

Community Reintegration: The majority of OTI's program budget is designated for the implementation of the Synergie d'Education Communautaire et d'Appui à la transition (SE*CA) program to revitalize war-torn communities' social, economic and physical infrastructure.

This activity includes a six month training program for war-affected youth (including IDPs, ex-combatants, victims of rape and idle youth) which is composed of vocational training, basic living skills education and psycho-social assistance; an in-kind small grants mechanism in support of community-driven activities; and a media component to improve access to information, address issues relevant to communities and include citizens in the political transition. The activity operates out of Kisangani, Bunia and Kindu to allow for coverage of the surrounding villages where there is an expectation of a significant number of returning war-affected people.

Media: The Transition Awareness and Participation (TAP) activity supports the development and dissemination of information campaigns focused on disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR); elections; transitional institutions; and laws critical to the advancement of the transition (i.e. amnesty and nationality laws); creating linkages for information exchange between citizens and key decision-makers; and Quick Response activities (i.e. radio listening groups, community town hall meetings) that use information to address and respond to political crisis. The media program is supported by Chemonics' small grant activities.

For further information, please contact:

In Washington, D.C.: Galeeb Kachra, Tel: 202-712-1905, gkachra@usaid.gov