CRS in Republic of the Congo
Brazzaville is the capital city of The Republic of Congo, but to differentiate the country from the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo (RoC) is often called Congo-Brazzaville. The country covers an area of 342,000 km2 (132,000 square miles), a territory which extends from the Atlantic to the heart of Central Africa. The RoC shares borders with the Central African Republic in the north, Cameroon in the Northwest, Gabon in the west, Angola in the extreme south-west, and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the east and south.
The Republic of Congo is one of Africa’s largest petroleum producers. Despite this wealth, approximately 47% of the country's population lives under the poverty threshold and its unemployment rate is more than 50%. The consequences of its civil war are still evident. A large part of the country's infrastructure (health, education, etc.) was destroyed and the levels of poverty and emergency needs of the population increased. Poor governance and leadership established after the war worsened the people's vulnerability. Problems include lack of housing as well as necessities, lack of health care, trauma, and deep divisions in the social fabric of the country.
Caritas in Congo
The national coordinating body of Caritas is often solicited by international organizations for program implementation due to their presence in the most remote locations of the country. Caritas Congo provides leadership support to all nine diocesan Caritas of the country. The local Catholic Conference of Bishops recently decided to reinforce its national Caritas team, enabling it to coordinate and strengthen diocesan Caritas partners in the Republic of the Congo. An internal assessment coupled with a CRS institutional capacity assessment revealed that significant capacity building was needed to achieve this end.
Programming 2018 -2010
The success and positive impact of the first project allowed the financing of another similar OFDA funded project. Essential household items will be distributed from June 2018 to January 2019 to help affected families meet the their needs. The project, Ematelo (which means “scale” in the Kituba language) is being implemented by Caritas Congo through diocesan networks and will target the displaced and returnees, thus completing interventions by other humanitarian international groups. Ematelo will serve 3,500 households (HH), including 12,500 internally displaced persons (2,500 HH) and 5,000 returnees (1,000 HH).
Health: Vector Control
Fight against Malaria with the grant from the Global Fund
CRS has been selected in 2018, as principal recipient by the Global Fun), to lead a high impact intervention program aimed at reducing mortality from malaria by 20%, through a mass distribution of 3,074,650 long-lasting insecticidal mosquito nets. This mass distribution campaign is scheduled for July 2019 and aims to provide significant protection to the entire population of Congo to achieve universal coverage so that at least 80% of the general population will be put under mosquito nets by 2020. The implementation of the project will be done in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health through its technical body, the National Malaria Control Program.
In addition to Strengthening of the Health Management Information System (HMIS) in the country the GF grant also includes other components to facilitate program implementation from the central to the community levels, such as:
- A KAP (knowledge, aptitude and practices) survey
- An entomological survey
- A post campaign survey
- Software and equipment for data management.
CRS' History in Republic of the Congo
Catholic Relief Services began its program in the Republic of the Congo (Brazzaville) in 1997 at the invitation of the country's Catholic Conference of Bishops with a specific aim to provide emergency assistance during the last years of a long civil war. CRS collaborates with Caritas Congo, a network of nine diocesan Caritas partners. From 2000 – 2017, CRS has been supporting Caritas/Congo, from its Kinshasa office, to implement emergency and development activities in the RoC. In 2017, a CRS funding of $171,000 enabled Caritas Congo to intervene in the Pool area for the distribution of essential household items to 5,000 displaced people. This assistance, deployed quickly under the leadership of Caritas Congo.