Read caption Photo: Christian Jepsen/NRC

NRC in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is intensifying and displacement is reaching historically high levels. NRC strives to meet the needs of people affected by displacement.


A total of


people in need received our assistance in 2019.


Humanitarian overview

In 2019, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) placed the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) as the world's second largest displacement crisis after Syria. Political and economic instability, combined with continued tensions between communities has led to ongoing resurgence of intercommunal violence and clashes between armed groups. 

The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) warns that 15.6 million people are highly food insecure, with more than 3.9 million in the emergency phase by the end of 2019, mainly in eastern DR Congo. 

According to USAID, there are an estimated 3.5 million primary school aged children who are not in school, while 44 per cent of children start school late. 

UNICEF reports show that despite DR Congo containing over 50 per cent of Africa's water reserves, only 52 per cent of the population have access to an improved water source. Only 29 per cent have improved sanitation facilities. 

The DR Congo Shelter Cluster has reported an increase in shelter needs from 2018 to 2019. The Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for 2019 estimated that 3.4 million people (or four per cent of the total population) are in need of decent housing.

People we helped in DR Congo in 2019

people benefited from our education programme.
people benefited from our food security programme
people benefited from our shelter programme
people benefited from our ICLA programme

NRC's operation

In 2019, our teams assisted over 500,000 people in need in eastern DR Congo.

Our programme aims at providing a multi-sectoral response across the displacement cycle. NRC runs a large market-based emergency response, in addition to a range of rights-based programmes to promote stability and pathways to durable solutions. NRC in DR Congo is piloting a Humanitarian Mediation Programme that seeks to explore new ways to prevent people being forced to flee.

NRC EducationEducation

We provide quality education in safe and protected environments. Our education activities:

  • provide accelerated learning opportunities to allow out-of-school children to catch up with their peers and reintegrate into the formal school system
  • protect children and youth both physically and psychologically to create a sense of normalcy and routine
  • train teachers, education authorities and other education stakeholders on psychosocial support, peace education, class management, prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse, and good governance in school management
  • provide youth with education to enhance their livelihood skills and guide them towards a profession

NRC Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)

We support people affected by displacement and enable them to exercise and enjoy their housing, land and property rights. Our teams:

  • provide information, counselling, training and legal assistance services on how to access and claim land and property rights
  • support land conflict resolution mechanisms and initiatives
  • facilitate access to land and land tenure for internally displaced people in emergency situations
  • promote and advocate for women’s housing, land and property rights
  • increase the capacity of humanitarian actors to engage with housing, land and property issues
  • contribute to the advocacy for access to agricultural land
  • promote and contribute to land rights reform
  • facilitate access to legal identity rights (e.g. birth and marriage certificates)

NRC Livelihoods and food securityLivelihoods and food security

Our livelihood and food security teams support displaced people with food assistance. Our teams offer:

  • emergency support to vulnerable households through unconditional and unrestricted cash grants in order for them to meet their basic needs. 
  • agricultural kits in order to restore the most vulnerable households’ resilience capacities
  • assistance with land tenure for internally displaced people and returnees, in close collaboration with our ICLA teams
  • training sessions on livelihood opportunities and productivity to ensure that people can better adapt to and withstand future shocks and crises
  • various income generating activities (IGA) accompanied by business management training

NRC Shelter and settlementsShelter and settlements

Our shelter teams:  

  • provide cash and technical expertise for shelter to families who return home
  • support those in protracted displacement with access to land and housing
  • assess needs of health centres in conflict areas
  • build and rehabilitate classrooms and water points for displaced children
  • rehabilitate community infrastructure, such as community centres
  • collaborate with our ICLA team to ensure that every household’s property rights are respected and upheld

NRC Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) promotion

Our WASH teams:

  • rehabilitate damaged and weak water facilities
  • construct and repair water points and latrines
  • spread knowledge about safe hygiene practices to people affected by displacement, both in communities and schools
  • distribute hygiene kits and campaign to promote the use of safe water containers for both water transportation and storage

Humanitarian mediation and protection

Our humanitarian mediation and protection project has been deployed to Tanganyika, Itiru and Yumbi. We seek to contribute to improving the protection of civilians by preventing or mitigating conflicts. The activities include:

  • undertaking conflict-sensitive, gender and protection analyses
  • supporting dialogue processes and humanitarian mediation processes
  • training national and international actors working to protect civilians

Emergency response

NRC remains a key organisation in the emergency response in DR Congo. NRC is the lead agency for the ECHO-funded Flexible Response (Reflex) consortium and is also part of the larger SAFER rapid response consortium with partners ACTED, Concern Worldwide, Mercy Corps and Solidarités. NRC also coordinates the Rapid Response (RR) Working Group, in cooperation with UNICEF and OCHA, which aims to harmonise rapid response initiatives in DR Congo. 

Supporting return and durable solutions

NRC continues to support the integration and return of IDPs in the east of DR Congo. Examples of complementary and coordinated programmes include access to land and housing, access to land and food production, access to education in emergencies, and vocational training. 

NRC DR Congo is grateful for the generous support from our donors:
  • Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO/EuropeAid)
  • Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)
  • Swedish Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA)
  • Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA)
  • Embassy of Sweden in DR Congo
  • Education Cannot Wait (ECW)
  • Norwegian Agency for Development cooperation (Norad)
  • Global Affairs Canada (GAC)
  • Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA)
  • United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
  • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

About NRC in DR Congo

International staff
Areas of operation
Goma (Country Office), Petit Nord Kivu, Grand Nord Kivu, Sud Kivu, Ituri, Kasai and Tanganyika.
Budget 2019
USD 30 million
National staff


Country Director

Maureen Philippon


+240 (0) 81 08 69 030 / 99 04 39 211