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 2018.

Humanitarian overview

In the last two years, the needs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have worsened alarmingly. 15.9 million people are severely food-insecure, according to IPC figures from August 2019 – double the 2017 figure. Around 1.8 million people were newly displaced in 2018 according to IDMC figures released in May 2019. By the end of June 2019, new violence in Ituri province had forced at least 300,000 to find refuge in neighbouring territories and in Uganda. Many lack adequate shelter.

At least 7 million Congolese children between the ages of five and 17 are out of school, either because their families can’t afford the fees or because they were forced to flee and were unable to resume education.

The Ebola epidemic erupted in August 2018 and is unfortunately not yet under control. It has taken more than 2,000 lives so far. By the month of August, the measles epidemics had taken a toll of 2,700 lives.

Despite such alarming needs, DR Congo’s crisis has fallen off the radar. In 2018, it was listed as the world’s second most neglected crisis by NRC. By the end of August it had attracted less than 30 per cent of the humanitarian funding required.

People we helped in DR Congo in 2018

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 2018, our teams assisted 1.1 million people in need in the eastern areas of South Kivu, North Kivu, Ituri and Tanganyika, and in the provinces of Kasai Central and Kasai.

Our programme aims at providing a multi-sectoral response all along the displacement cycle – though funds focus disproportionately on the emergency phase. NRC runs a large emergency response, mostly market-based. NRC in DR Congo is piloting a humanitarian mediation programme that seeks to explore new ways to guarantee people’s protection.

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
  • support the rehabilitation and construction of classrooms
  • 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
  • ensure that men and women have equal access to 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 food security teams offer:

  • emergency support to support vulnerable households through unconditional and unrestricted cash grants in order for them to meet their basic needs. This is provided through cash distribution and/or markets and fairs (using e-voucher technology) for displaced and conflict-affected populations
  • 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

So far this year, our shelter teams have:  

  • proposed durable solutions to households in provinces where displacement sites are closing down
  • provided cash and technical expertise for shelter to families who return home
  • assessed needs of health centres in conflict areas
  • built and rehabilitated classrooms and water points for displaced children
  • collaborated 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
  • bring about spontaneous and long-term changes to sanitation practices through the community-led total sanitation (CLTS) approach to open defecation
  • 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. It seeks to contribute to improving 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 member of the ECHO-funded Flexible Response (Reflex) consortium, with partners ACTED and Solidarités. Also, NRC is the lead organisation for the Rapid Response (RR) Working Group, which aims to harmonise rapid response initiatives in DR Congo. Naturally, with operations of this size across vast geographic areas, there are challenges in coordination and implementation. Two recent workshops, one for Reflex and one for the RR WG, have highlighted these ongoing challenges, and initiatives are in place at the inter-agency level to rectify them.

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 continue with LFS, Shelter-WASH, ICLA, Education, and Mediation to respond to a range of needs faced by these groups. NRC conducted its first mediation in DR Congo after a series of workshops with communities. The analysis undertaken before, and discussions had during the exercise, were very valuable in supporting wider programmatic approaches. These ongoing discussions will prove valuable for country and global-level discussions on strategic initiatives, namely integrated programming and durable solutions.  

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 32 million
National staff


Country Director

Maureen Philippon


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