Democratic Republic of the Congo Appeal
Humanitarian Action for Children
UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action for Children appeal helps support the agency’s work as it
provides conflict- and disaster-affected children with access to water, sanitation, nutrition,
education, health and protection services. Return to main appeal page.
Democratic Republic of the Congo snapshot
- The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) continues to witness one of the most complex, protracted and acute humanitarian crises in the world. Persistent violence, inter-communal tensions, acute malnutrition and major epidemic outbreaks further compound chronic poverty and systemic weaknesses, affecting the lives and well-being of children and women.
- UNICEF is among the first responders to provide a multi-sectoral and integrated life-saving response to address acute humanitarian needs. A systematic gender lens will be applied to all analysis and programme design. Strengthening empowerment of local organizations and existing community structures is the backbone of UNICEF’s localization approach. This enhances the effectiveness and efficiency of the humanitarian response, while also contributing to enhancing community resilience mechanisms and social cohesion.
- UNICEF requires US$356.4 million to address the acute needs of children in the DRC, uphold and promote their rights. Without timely and adequate funding to alleviate their suffering, their needs will continue to worsen and increase.
Key planned results for 2022
538,447 children admitted for treatment for severe acute malnutrition
1.1 million children vaccinated against measles
1.5 million people accessing a sufficient quantity of safe water
400,000 children / caregivers accessing mental health and psychosocial support
Funding requirements for 2022
Country needs and strategy
Throughout 2021, the Democratic Republic of the Congo continued to be confronted with a multitude of complex and overlapping acute crises.
Over 5.5 million are internally displaced people (IDPs), including 3.2 million children and 1.2 million women. Of these, over 2.6 million people were newly displaced between August 2020 and August 2021, mainly due to conflict, representing a 28 per cent increase compared to last year. Ninety per cent of IDPs live in the eastern provinces of Ituri, North Kivu, South Kivu and northern Tanganyika, where extreme violence has increased in scale and intensity. Forced to relocate, often repeatedly, leaving behind their homes and belongings, displaced children live in extremely precarious conditions, exposed to violence, with very scarce access to basic services (drinking water, sanitation, primary healthcare, psychosocial support, education), hindering a safe and dignified life.
With the persistent armed conflicts, grave violations against children (killing and maiming, recruitment and attacks against schools and hospitals) continue to be reported. Over 4 million children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are in urgent need of protection. Gender-based violence (GBV) remains a key concern. At the end of June 2021, an increase of 132 per cent in reported GBV cases was noted compared to June 2020. Women and children continue to be at risk of sexual exploitation and abuse, with few avenues for reporting and seeking assistance.
Vulnerabilities are compounded by limited basic services and infrastructures. Forty-seven per cent of health zones are facing a nutritional emergency with 2.4 million children under 5 years of age suffering from acute malnutrition and 1.6 million children suffering from severe acute malnutrition. Almost 7 million Congolese are in urgent need of clean water and basic sanitation.
The country also faces recurrent outbreaks of Ebola, measles, meningitis, cholera and plague, placing additional strain on an already fragile public health system. In 2021, two Ebola outbreaks were declared in the country, with one still on-going as of November.6 A new measles outbreak has already resulted in over 40,000 suspected cases with nearly 600 deaths (1.5 per cent case-fatality rate) in 23 out of 26 provinces. In Tshopo Province, almost 2,000 suspected cases of meningitis were reported, including 195 deaths (11 per cent case-fatality rate). Moreover, while cholera incidences decreased by 66.6 percent, the casefatality rate increased from 1.5 percent in 2020 to 2.3 percent to 2021 with new outbreaks reported at the end of September 2021.
In 2022, UNICEF will continue to be among the first responders delivering timely and integrated life-saving response to address the acute needs of vulnerable children and to ensure their needs continue to be met while working towards programmatic synergies.
Aiming to enable holistic humanitarian assistance, UNICEF will provide immediate access to essential services while enhancing community resilience and paving the way for longer-term interventions. Community engagement and empowerment of local organizations and existing structures will continue to be the backbone of UNICEF’s localization approach. This allows for improved effectiveness, acceptance and enhanced access to hard-to-reach areas, while increasing overall efficiency and value for money.
At the onset of crisis, UNICEF and partners will deliver life-saving rapid response to address the most acute needs and mitigate the immediate impact. UNICEF's Rapid Response Mechanism will focus on population movement and natural disaster, while the targeted cholera rapid response around suspected cases will allow transmission to be stopped. UNICEF will continue strengthening the linkages between health, nutrition, water, sanitation, hygiene (WASH), education and child protection and GBV programming to enable more integrated humanitarian assistance (including through cash transfers) and increase children's access to quality and inclusive assistance in a protective and child-friendly environment.
To support responses to public health emergencies, UNICEF, with the Government and partners, will contribute to the coordination and response of several outbreak response pillars. Specific community needs will also be addressed including through the support to the continuity of essential social services for children, adolescents, and women.
Children associated with armed groups and unaccompanied or separated children will receive appropriate and individualized care, focusing on innovative reintegration programmes. To save the lives of children, health, nutrition and WASH efforts will focus on improving access to basic WASH services, primary healthcare and immunization as well as supporting early detection of severe acute malnutrition, referrals and treatment in community and health facilities. Preventive interventions – such as infant and young child feeding counselling – will be reinforced in 2022.
UNICEF places prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse (PSEA) as a top priority and will continue to enforce a holistic and systematic approach to scaling up SEA and GBV prevention measures within all its interventions. Gender, GBV risk mitigation and PSEA cross-cutting activities will be integrated in all interventions throughout the response. Survivors will be supported with multisectoral services (medical, psychosocial, legal and socioeconomic empowerment opportunities).
Finally, UNICEF will continue to lead the WASH, nutrition and education clusters, the child protection area of responsibility and the non-food items working group. UNICEF also coleads the monitoring and reporting mechanism.
Find out more about UNICEF's work
Humanitarian Action is at the core of UNICEF’s mandate to realize the rights of every child. This edition of Humanitarian Action for Children – UNICEF’s annual humanitarian fundraising appeal – describes the ongoing crises affecting children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; the strategies that we are using to respond to these situations; and the donor support that is essential in this response.