Democratic Republic of Congo

CRS is working with more than 8,000 farmers to improve agricultural outputs by implementing new techniques. Photo by Emilie Greenhalgh/CRS

CRS is working with more than 8,000 farmers to improve agricultural outputs by implementing new techniques. Photo by Emilie Greenhalgh/CRS

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a vast country with abundant mineral resources and yet is at risk of not achieving the Millennium Development Goals set for 2015. Years of conflict and mismanagement have contributed to ongoing humanitarian crisis for almost two decades now. In the eastern part of the country, political and ethnic conflicts have led to the displacement of over half a million people since the end of 2012, and it is estimated that a further 2.5 million people throughout the country will be displaced by the end of 2013.

Substandard socio-economic conditions affect a majority of Congolese population nationwide: seventy-one percent of the population lives below the poverty line and it is estimated that about 40 percent of school-aged children, mostly girls, have never been in a classroom. In rural areas, 36 percent of girls (ages 7-16) have no access to schooling while 39 percent of them have less than 4 years of education. Agricultural output has been on the decline for decades due to a lack of production associated with conflict and corruption, and due to diseases affecting crops such as cassava—a staple crop planted on half the arable land and representing 70 to 80 percent of the Congolese diet. Health indicators for the under-5 population are also bleak. Causes of mortality among children include malaria, acute respiratory infection, diarrheal diseases, measles, malnutrition and neonatal complications. In addition, according to the government's National TB Program, Tuberculosis is one of the five major causes of death in the country.

Catholic Relief Services continues to address these humanitarian issues in collaboration with church partners, government agencies and other humanitarian actors. In 2014, CRS is projected to provide aid to about 1.4 million direct beneficiaries through our humanitarian programs.

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Population:75,507,308 (2013 est.)
Size:905,355 sq mi; slightly less than 1/4 the size of the United States
People Served:16,346,782 (2013 est.)


Catholic Relief Services began programs in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 1961 at the invitation of the country's Catholic Episcopal Conference and, with the exception of a few brief closures during important events in the country's history, has maintained a continuous presence since 1993 providing support to partners and other stakeholders.

CRS has intervened in several program areas over the years, addressing the most urgent and pertinent needs on both the emergency and development sides of the spectrum. Priority sectors for CRS programming in DRC have included emergency response, agriculture and food security, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), health and HIV, peacebuilding and governance, and microfinance. Most interventions target vulnerable populations such as internally displaced people and returnees, paying particular attention to the needs of children, the elderly and disabled and being sensitive to different gender needs across projects. Host families and host populations in areas of large displacements are also targeted for assistance.

CRS operates from a main office in Kinshasa, sub offices in North and South Kivu provinces, and base offices in Lodja (Kasaï Oriental province) and Dungu (Oriental province). These offices were established to assure greater support and close collaboration with local partners, particularly Diocesan Caritas partners from across the country. Currently CRS implements programs in the DRC in partnership with more than 67 local partner organizations.


Caritas Goma
United States Agency for International Development


Disaster Response
Water and Sanitation

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