The Democratic Republic of Congo (often abbreviated as DRC or D.R. Congo) is a central African country and home to the largest Francophone population in the world. While extremely rich in natural resources, political instability, corruption, a lack of infrastructure – after centuries of colonial extraction – have left the sprawling country severely underdeveloped and over 60 million citizens living in extreme poverty (less than USD 2.15 per day).
While civil wars in the 1990s and early 2000s further destabilized the country, this widespread conflict eventually eased – but gave way to regional violence. Collectively, these conflicts have contributed to a fractious atmosphere and a number of challenging factors, including the large-scale use of child soldiers, forced labor, and frequently, violence against women and children.
Since 2012, RET has directly supported more than 55,765 program participants in DRC (20% of them women) through 19 projects. This has included the critical but fraught effort to demobilize and rehabilitate some 1,177 ex-combatants, and in our estimation, has impacted more than 557,650 lives.
Among several active projects by RET in the country, a multi-year (2021–2024) undertaking has focused on improving the food security and nutrition situation in Ituri and North Kivu, to support peace and inclusive co-existence of conflict-affected populations in that part of eastern DRC.
.This has included efforts by RET to educate a wide demographic – from demobilized child soldiers and youth formerly associated with armed groups to the Indigenous Batwa population, female heads of households, and internally displaced persons (IDPs), returnees, and vulnerable host populations, including persons with disability – on how to self- produce food as small holder farmers and sustainably manage natural resources.
This project aims to directly benefit 6,200 individuals – 2,220 women and 3,980 men (36% and 64%, respectively), and it is anticipated to positively impact 43,000 lives.
It is also intended to improve and promote peaceful relations between ethnic groups, as well as integrate stigmatized, vulnerable, and traumatized groups, specifically youth ex-combatants and the Batwa into the local community and economy. The project aims to reach 6,200 individuals over its lifecycle, and indirectly impact an addition 40,000.
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