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 2020.


Humanitarian overview

Between January and June 2020, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) figures reported 1,427,000 new displacements associated with conflict and violence and 349,000 as a result of natural disasters.

With 5.5 million internally displaced people (IDPs), 2.16 million returned IDPs and refugees, and approximately 530,000 refugees and asylum-seekers from Burundi, Central African Republic (CAR), Rwanda and South Sudan, DR Congo is the world’s second largest displacement crisis.

The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification anticipates 19.6 million Congolese are facing severe acute food insecurity, classified in IPC Phase 3 or 4 (crisis or worse), in the first half of 2021. It is estimated that only 43 per cent of DR Congo’s population have access to basic drinking water and 29 per cent to improved sanitation.

DR Congo Shelter Cluster reported an increase in shelter needs from 2019 to 2020 by approximately 1.7m people. The revised Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for 2020 estimates that 5.1 million people are in need of decent housing, with the highest needs in the East.


People we helped in DR Congo in 2020

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
people benefited from our WASH programme

NRC's operation

In 2020, our teams assisted 699,361 people in DR Congo. Our strategy aims to provide assistance and protection to families during all phases of displacement. NRC provides a multisectoral rapid response (cash support, emergency shelter and water, and emergency education), support to prolonged displacement (securing access to land, transitional shelters), and when possible, support to returnees or local integration. NRC has developed skills to reduce community tensions and work with communities to find alternatives to violent conflict resolution.


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
  • 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 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


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
  • 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 roads to allow farmers to access markets for trading


NRC Shelter and settlementsShelter and settlements

Our shelter teams:  

  • provide cash and shelter technical expertise to families who return home
  • 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
  • build and rehabilitate classrooms and water points for displaced children
  • collaborate with our ICLA team to ensure that every household’s property rights are respected and upheld
  • rehabilitate community infrastructure, including health centres


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

Our WASH teams:

  • set up water points and water storage at health facilities in urban centres with the view to limit the spread of Covid-19
  • 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

The humanitarian mediation and protection teams have been deployed to intercommunity and intracommunity conflicts in Tanganyika, Ituriand Mai Ndombe provinces. The teams also contributed to Covid-19 community-based protection analyses in North Kivu, Ituri and Maniema. The programme contributes to the improved 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

Emergency response

NRC remains a key organisation in the emergency response in DR Congo through the SAFER consortium, with partners ACTED, Concern Worldwide, Mercy Corps, and Solidarités. NRC chairs the Rapid Response technical Working Group, in cooperation with UNICEF and OCHA.

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 package to make a long-lasting impact in a stable environment. Such situations are suitable for all our technical competencies: shelter, water and sanitation, education, food security and livelihoods. ICLA is mainstreamed throughout.

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
  • Global Affairs Canada (GAC)
  • Bureau for Humanitarian Affairs (BHA)
  • United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA)
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
  • External Action Service of the European Union – Foreign Policy Instrument
  • UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Department via SAFER consortium

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

Maureen Philippon


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