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 2022.


Humanitarian overview

DR Congo is the largest hunger emergency in the world with over 27 million people experiencing food insecurity. The country hosts one of the largest displaced populations (including refugees) in the world – approximately 5.5 million - the majority in the east of the country. Protection of civilians by parties to the conflict remains insufficient, with very little done to prevent conflict-related displacements or civilian deaths. 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 experiencing repeated displacements, some in a circular pattern.

One in seven women nationwide experienced sexual violence before the age of 18 but 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.

  • 96,195
    people benefited from our education programme.
  • 24,688
    people benefited from our food security programme
  • 52,264
    people benefited from our shelter programme
  • 19,318
    people benefited from our ICLA programme
  • 83,645
    people benefited from our WASH programme
  • 179,055
    people benefited from other NRC activities


NRC's operation

In 2022, NRC assisted 351,319 people in DR Congo. Our main objective is to provide assistance and protection, through integrated programming, to populations during all phases of displacement. NRC provides a multisector response in cash, Shelter and WASH, Education, ICLA, and Protection from Violence/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 normality 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 an education to enhance their livelihood skills and guide them towards a profession
  • advocacy for the 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, as well as access to civil documentation. 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 throughout all phases of displacement and promote and advocate for women’s and internally displaced people’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
  • protect internally displaced people from forced evictions through monitoring and reporting, prevention initiatives, and improved government leadership on eviction prevention
  • 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)
  • empower young people to engage in sustainable recovery and livelihood initiatives by providing support linked to employment law and procedures

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 technical expertise to families who return home and vulnerable host communities
  • 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 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

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 situations 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 weak 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

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 is a key rapid responder in eastern DR Congo. We respond to displacement with multi-purpose cash assistance (MPCA) primarily through the SAFER consortium. We cater to other needs in the first phase of the emergency by providing emergency shelter, water and sanitation, essential household and hygiene items, supporting the identification of land for establishment of shelters, and supporting the immediate return of children to safe classrooms.

Supporting return and durable solutions

The context in DR Congo is complex, volatile and multi-faceted. Some (though few) areas of the country have potential for more durable outcomes. NRC continues to support the integration and return of internally displaced people 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, WASH, ICLA, Protection and Education. NRC supports the return and relocation of internally displaced people in Kalemie (Tanganyika region) after the closure of displaced sites, including support to host communities with WASH and ICLA.

About NRC in DR Congo

International staff
Areas of operation
Goma (Country Office), Ituri, North Kivu, Tanganyika
National staff


Country Director

Pauline Ballaman


+243 810074358 | +243 990 43 92 11