Map of Democratic Republic of Congo
UNICEF photo: © UNICEF DRC/2013/Diana Mrazikova

Democratic Republic of the Congo

UNICEF is requesting US$132 million to meet the humanitarian needs of children in DRC in 2015.

In 2015, UNICEF and partners plan for:
1.5 million

cholera-affected persons are provided with WASH package

14,500

survivors of sexual violence receive an appropriate response

800,000

people access essential household and personal goods and shelter materials (Rapid Response to Population Movements)

2015 Requirements: US$132,000,000

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Snapshot

Total affected population: 7,000,000
Total affected children: 2,870,000

Total people to be reached in 2015: 4,293,200
Total children to be reached in 2015: 2,146,600

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), armed conflict and the corresponding displacement of people continue to dominate the humanitarian context in the eastern part of the country, including southeastern Katanga province, with over 2.7 million people still displaced.1 In Katanga alone, the number of newly displaced people increased by 22 per cent in the second half of 2014.2 Population movement in DRC is complex and dynamic: attacks on people and gross violations of human rights by numerous armed actors continue, with zones of violence and displacement constantly shifting with zones of comparative calm and return. A definitive end to armed violence seems unlikely in the near future. Protection issues for children, women, and families are UNICEF’s priority, as sexual violence, recruitment into armed groups, separation of families, psychosocial trauma, and destruction or loss of homes and belongings continue to be issues that communities are facing. The implementation of the national disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) process remains slow and the organization of provincial and national elections for 2015-2016 is uncertain. The regional context also negatively impacts the humanitarian situation in DRC, which now hosts over 68,125 refugees from the Central African Republic (CAR).

Health and nutrition emergencies continue to threaten children’s survival in DRC: severe acute malnutrition (SAM) affects an estimated 2,250,000 children3 and 17 per cent of children under 5 are prone to waterborne diseases (EDS 2013). Cholera remains a significant concern even though prevention and preparedness activities have had some positive impact, with 33 per cent fewer cases of the disease reported through October 2014 than were reported in the same period in 2013. But despite these gains, there were 14,065 cholera cases reported in 2014, representing almost 20 per cent of all cases in West and Central Africa. Large-scale measles vaccination campaigns were conducted in 7 provinces in 2014; this should reduce the incidence of measles outbreaks significantly in 2015. However, because of logistical and security constraints and weaknesses in routine vaccination systems, numerous children remain unvaccinated. During the second half of 2014, 15 health zones reported measles outbreaks.

Humanitarian strategy

2015 Programme Targets

Nutrition

  • 350,000 children under 5 with SAM are treated

Health

  • 2,813,500 children in humanitarian situations vaccinated against measles
  • 170,000 people affected by conflict receive access to primary health care

WASH

  • 1,500,000 cholera-affected persons are provided with WASH package
  • 450,000 conflict affected persons receive access to water and sanitation
  • 35,000 severely malnourished children and host families receive WASH assistance from the nutrition centres, through to the household level

Child protection

  • 3,700 children associated with armed forces and groups are released and cared for
  • 14,500 survivors of sexual violence receive an appropriate response
  • 1,000 unaccompanied or separated children are identified and reunited with their families

Education

  • 200,000 girls and boys (aged 5 to 11 years) affected by conflict or natural disasters are given access to quality education and psychosocial activities

Non-food items and cash-based assistance

  • 800,000 people access essential household and personal goods and shelter materials (Of these, the RRMP programme will cover 670,000 people in non-food items, 600,000 in WASH, 80,000 in education and 170,000 in health)

In 2015 UNICEF will continue to deliver large-scale, rapid, multi-sectoral assistance to newly displaced people, refugees, and returning children and families, while assisting vulnerable host families and communities, and increasing emphasis on building local and national capacity to prepare for and respond to emergencies.

Child protection will focus on innovative and sustainable reintegration for children associated with armed forces and groups, and emergency education initiatives will be closely linked to the protection approach. Nutrition and WASH teams will work closely together to prevent and treat acute malnutrition. Emergency health supplies will be pre-positioned at the provincial level to rapidly respond to disease outbreaks, including cholera, measles and malaria. Cash-based approaches will be scaled up where appropriate, providing households with more choice and supporting existing coping mechanisms. UNICEF will continue to support humanitarian coordination in DRC as lead of four clusters (WASH, Education, Nutrition and NFI/Shelter) and the Child Protection working group, and will use the clusters to promote core commitments in gender, protection, and accountability to affected populations among actors in these sectors.

Results from 2014

UNICEF appealed for US$125,945,000 for 2014. As of 31 October 2014, US$ 56,288,089 or 45 per cent of requirements4 had been received in contributions. Despite a significant drop in available funding as compared to 2013, UNICEF DRC has continued to innovate and improve its humanitarian programs, achieving significant results for children. The Rapid Response to Population Movements (RRMP) remains the single largest response programme in DRC after food aid, assisting over 1.8 million people in multiple sectors (health, NFI, WASH, and education). This year RRMP extended emergency health interventions to a second province, improved joint action with food security actors, moved the monitoring system to the outcome level, and put in place a framework for accountability to affected populations.

Child protection partners were able to reach more children formerly associated with armed forces and groups than expected, and care for a greater number of children affected by displacement through child-friendly spaces and day centres than were initially targeted. Results in several other key areas were also strong, with emergency-related and peace-building teacher training reaching 94 per cent of target; integrated WASH cholera-response at 87 per cent; and treatment of severely malnourished children at 74 per cent of target. Large-scale unconditional cash transfers for displaced, returnee, and host families were implemented by UNICEF and partners for the first time in DRC, with extensive base-line and end-line monitoring showing significant positive results across sectors. These results included an improved access to basic goods and services, and a bolstered level of resilience through investment and livelihood recovery activities.

UNICEF played an instrumental role in the response to the Ebola outbreak by supporting free access to medical care zone, providing water supply to health facilities and distributing hygiene kits to communities and schools. More than 40 tons of supplies were distributed. UNICEF also stepped up social mobilisation initiatives with communities, authorities and local radio stations, and ensured provision of psychosocial support to affected families.

Results in some sectors were below expectations for various reasons. The WiN (WASH in Nutrition) strategy was only finalized in June 2014 with little opportunity to mobilise funds this year, therefore only 3 per cent of its target was met (but plans for a robust ramp-up in 2015 are underway). Lack of funding meant that UNICEF could only support 5 per cent of targeted sexual violence survivors, with many women and girls left without vital assistance. The number of children receiving emergency health assistance for measles and cholera was also low due to a lack of funds and logistics and supply chain challenges. The education response using temporary learning spaces was relatively strong for UNICEF and partners at 71 per cent of the target, but less than 50 per cent of the cluster target was met due to little funding for emergency education outside of RRMP, and revised standards by the Ministry of Education for temporary and emergency classrooms which have nearly doubled the costs.

Funding requirements

In line with DRC’s inter-agency 2015 Strategic Response Plan, UNICEF requires US$132 Million to achieve results for Congolese children affected by armed conflict, forced displacement, epidemic disease and acute malnutrition.

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1 Data provided by OCHA, October 2014.
2 Data provided by OCHA, November 2014.
3 Based on an estimated 18.9% of the total population are children under age 5, using a 2.6 incidence rate.
4 Exclusive of carry-forward funding from 2013.
5 UNICEF targets are higher than those of the cluster because the cluster target and results are for interventions in health zones with GAM at 15% and higher—the emergency thresholds as set in the SRP. UNICEF and partners reached 172,548 children in these cluster targeted areas as well as an additional 48,333 children in health zones with GAM < 15% - a total of 220,882 children treated – or 74% of the UNICEF target through 31 October 2014.
6 In late 2014, the DRC Child Protection working group began working with support from the Global CP Information Management team to harmonize indicators and reporting across actors. The SRP 2014 had not set specific sub-cluster targets for these indicators. Total sub-cluster results reported here for the first two indicators are preliminary results from this work.
7 At present there is no data for non-UNICEF partners for the number of children assisted in Child Friendly Spaces (CFS) so the cluster result and UNICEF result are identical.
8 Results for CFS far exceeded targets due to an underestimation of the target. In 2014 UNICEF partners ran 19 CFS + 10 day centres for a total of 29 centres for children. Partner reports indicate that the cumulative total of 289,807 represents individual children who have attended CFS activities at least one time. In 2015, UNICEF will invest in supporting partners to harmonize recording tools used for new participants and ensure common understanding of this indicator.
9 Please note that there were errors in previous targets cited for the Cluster and UNICEF in the HAC Mid-year report; these have been corrected here.
10 This result appears low for two main reasons: (1) limited funding for NFI activity compared to overall needs, and (2) it does not include activities of ICRC, a significant actor in Non-Food Item (NFI) assistance that prefers not to be reported as part of overall sectoral results for NFI. ICRC assistance in NFI reached some 175,000 people in 2014, which would bring this result up to 55%.