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 2021.


Humanitarian overview

DR Congo is the largest hunger emergency in the world with over 27 million people food insecure. The country hosts one of the largest displaced populations (including refugees) in the world – just over 5 million – the majority in the east. Protection of civilians by parties to the conflict remains weak, with very little done to prevent conflict-related displacements. There is little attention to securing areas of displacement and return, and consequently the basic needs of conflict-affected people are hardly addressed. Many conflict-affected populations are living repeated displacements, some in a pendular pattern.

One in seven women nationwide experience sexual violence before the age of 18 and the problem is more severe in conflict-affected communities. The national armed forces, police and non-state armed actors are often listed as perpetrators of grave violations of child rights in conflict and other violations of human rights and atrocities. The elderly and people living with disabilities are additional highly vulnerable groups.

  • 49,781
    people benefited from our education programme.
  • 15,476
    people benefited from our food security programme
  • 27,530
    people benefited from our shelter programme
  • 27,077
    people benefited from our ICLA programme
  • 30,327
    people benefited from our WASH programme


NRC's operation

In 2021, NRC assisted 285,965 people in DR Congo. Our main objective is to provide assistance and protection, through integrated programming, to families during all phases of displacement.

NRC provides a multisector response in cash, shelter and WASH, Education and Protection (ICLA, Humanitarian Mediation) to internally displaced people, returnees and host communities. NRC’s community-based approach is designed to reduce community tensions, work with communities to find alternatives to violent conflict resolution, and enhance self-resilience.

NRC EducationEducation

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

  • accelerated learning opportunities to allow out-of-school children to catch up with their peers and reintegrate into the formal school system
  • protecting children and youth both physically and psychologically to create a sense of normalcy and routine
  • training 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
  • providing youth with education to enhance their livelihood skills and guide them towards a profession
  • advocacy for i) access to quality primary education in line with the country’s free primary education policy and ii) Safe Schools Declaration


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
  • facilitate access to land and land tenure for internally displaced people (IDPs) throughout all phases of displacement and promote and advocate for women’s and IDPs’ housing, land and property rights
  • increase capacity of other humanitarian actors to engage in housing, land and property issues
  • promote and contribute to the land rights reform
  • facilitate access to birth and marriage certificates, and other legal identity documentation
  • enhance the capacity of local actors in alternative conflict-dispute resolution through material and technical support to local institutions and authorities (state and customary)
  • protect IDPs from forced evictions through monitoring and reporting, prevention initiatives, and improved government leadership on eviction prevention
  • empower young beneficiaries to engage in sustainable recovery and livelihood initiatives by providing support linked to employment law and procedures.

NRC Livelihoods and food securityLivelihoods and food security

Our livelihood and food security teams support displaced people with access, use and consumption of food, including direct food assistance, access to markets, access to improved seeds and agricultural land and the development of income-generating activities (IGAs), among others. In addition, we provide information on nutrition. Our teams offer:

  • emergency support to vulnerable households through unconditional and unrestricted cash grants
  • agricultural kits to restore the most vulnerable households’ resilience capacities
  • support to technical state institutions (e.g. Agronomy research institute) to avail better quality seeds, and support to farmers’ cooperatives for seed multiplication
  • rehabilitate infrastructure (roads, markets) to allow farmers and beneficiaries to access markets for trading and consumption
  • start-up grants for the establishment of IGAs
  • school feeding and gardens and food production demonstration

NRC Shelter and settlementsShelter and settlements

Our shelter teams:  

  • contribute to the construction and rehabilitation of destroyed houses by providing in kind materials, cash assistance and shelter technical expertise to families who return home and vulnerable host community
  • support those in protracted displacement with access to land and housing
  • contribute to settlement planning in line with public health measures by negotiating additional land with our ICLA team and constructing new shelters to reduce the risk coronavirus and other diseases spreading in line with SPHERE and/or shelter cluster standards
  • build and rehabilitate classrooms and school water points for displaced children
  • build and rehabilitate community infrastructure, including health centres, warehousing and storage
  • collaborate with our ICLA team to ensure that every household’s property rights are respected and upheld
  • are actively involved in the shelter coordination mechanisms at the national and provincial levels led by United Nations agencies

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

Our WASH teams:

  • provide safe drinking water to people affected by displacement through i) water trucking in urban emergency situation ii) water spring catchment in rural areas with regard to the hydrological context iii) water supply network to enable large groups of people to have access to water and iv) rehabilitation of damaged and week boreholes
  • provide water harvesting mostly in schools and health centres
  • distribute water storage facilities and provide regular water quality testing
  • provide appropriate sanitation and handwashing facilities through i) the construction/rehabilitation of family/communal latrines and showers in favour of internally displaced people, returnees and host communities ii) the construction/rehabilitation of institutional (schools and health centres) latrines
  • provide appropriate hygiene items and cleaning materials for households, schools and health centres
  • distribute appropriate menstrual hygiene management items for women and girls both in communities and schools
  • spread knowledge about safe hygiene practices to people affected by displacement, both in communities and schools
  • provide cash assistance and technical expertise to families and school committees for WASH construction
  • provide faecal sludge management through the emptying of sewage sludge in the formal displacement sites by collaborating in the current coordination mechanisms at the national and provincial levels led by United Nations agencies

Humanitarian mediation and protection

The humanitarian mediation and protection teams have addressed intercommunity and intracommunity conflicts in Tanganyika and Ituri provinces. The programme contributes to improve the protection of civilians through prevention and mitigation of episodes of violence, facilitation of safe voluntary returns, improvement in accessing basic services, as well as ensuring respect of basic human rights in conflict-affected areas. The activities include:

  • undertaking conflict sensitive, gender and protection analyses
  • increasing capacities of women, men and youth in conflict management and conflict resolution through participatory community-based workshops
  • supporting inclusive, participatory, and empowering dialogue processes and humanitarian mediation processes
  • increasing capacities of national and international actors in conflict-sensitive analysis and humanitarian mediation as tools for enhanced protection of civilians in conflict areas
  • improve civilian safety and security, understanding between the parties to the mediation in the targeted areas and contribute to prevent and mitigate conflict between communities

Emergency response

NRC remains a key provider of rapid assistance following displacement and natural disaster in eastern DR Congo individually and through the SAFER consortium, with partners ACTED, Concern Worldwide, Mercy Corps, and Solidarités.

Supporting return and durable solutions

The context in DR Congo is complex, volatile and multi-faceted. Some (though limited) areas of the country have potential for more durable outcomes. NRC continues to support the integration and return of IDPs and intends to support with individual and community-based packages to make a long-lasting impact in a stable environment. Such situations are suitable for all our core competencies: shelter, water and sanitation, protection, education, food security and livelihoods. ICLA is mainstreamed throughout. NRC supports the return and relocation of IDPs in Kalemie (Tanganyika region) after the closure of displaced sites, including the support to host communities in WASH and protection (ICLA).

About NRC in DR Congo

International staff
Areas of operation
Goma (Country Office), Ituri, North Kivu, South Kivu, Tanganyika, and Kasai-Central
National staff


Country Director

Caitlin Brady


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