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Map of Democratic Republic of the Congo
UNICEF photo: a crowd of children laughing look at camera © UNICEF/DRC/Brett_Morton/2013/Nobili Providing nutritional and medical supplies to internally displaced children and families during an RRMP intervention.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

In 2017, UNICEF and partners plan for:
1.2 million

IDPs benefit from multi sectoral assistance and 1 million displaced people receive cash assistance

1.7 million

cholera-affected persons provided with WASH package


children formerly associated with armed forces/groups released and provided with temporary assistance

2017 Requirements: US$119,125,000

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Total people in need: 7.3 million1
Total children (<18) in need: 4.4 million

Total people to be reached in 2017: 3 million
Total children to be reached in 2017: 1.8 million

For more than two decades, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been plagued by multiple, complex conflicts with grave humanitarian consequences. At the end of 2016, the country had 1.9 million internally displaced persons registered and was hosting more than 436,870 refugees.2 Population movement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is complex and dynamic, as ongoing conflicts implicating numerous non-state armed groups trigger mass displacement and exacerbate humanitarian needs. As a result, 2 million children are expected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition and emergency levels of morbidity and mortality in 2017. Outbreaks of cholera, measles and yellow fever continue to threaten children’s survival. Cholera remains a constant threat, with 25,000 cases3 reported in 2016. Protection is a major concern, with more than 3,000 children4 confirmed active in armed groups and cases of sexual and gender-based violence reported daily. Natural disasters such as flooding are expected to continue to threaten children and their families. Humanitarian needs could be further impacted by the ongoing political turmoil. The multi-year (2017–2019) Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) was set up to sustain a humanitarian response to the most-affected populations.

Humanitarian strategy

2017 programme targets


  • 310,000 children under 5 suffering from SAM treated


  • 500,000 children immunized against measles
  • 300,000 people affected by conflict and disease outbreaks accessing primary health care


  • 1.7 million cholera-affected persons provided with WASH package
  • 760,000 conflict and natural disaster-affected persons accessing WASH

Child protection

  • 3,700 children formerly associated with armed forces/groups released and provided with temporary assistance
  • 4,000 survivors of sexual violence provided with a comprehensive response


  • 210,000 girls and boys aged 5 to 11 years affected by conflict or natural disasters received access to quality education and psychosocial activities


  • 1.2 million internally displaced persons benefited from multi-sectoral assistance

Multipurpose cash transfer

  • 1 million internally displaced persons received multipurpose cash assistance

In 2017, UNICEF will provide large-scale, rapid, multi-sectoral assistance in nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), health and non-food items (NFIs). Community-based treatment of severe acute malnutrition (SAM) will be scaled-up to reach more than 300,000 children. Multipurpose cash transfer programming will target more than 1 million people (a 10-fold increase from 2016), particularly displaced and emergency-affected children, through cash grants to schools. Emergency health and WASH supplies will be pre-positioned at the provincial level to respond to disease outbreaks, such as cholera and measles. UNICEF will support gender-based violence prevention approaches, coordination and referral mechanisms. Rapid Needs Assessments and response capacity for the Rapid Response to Movement of Population (RRMP) mechanism will be pre-positioned. UNICEF will continue its lead coordination role in the Democratic Republic of the Congo humanitarian architecture, leading four clusters at national and provincial levels (education, WASH, nutrition, and NFI/shelter), as well as the child protection working group, and will serve as lead agency for sectoral coordination and multi-sector humanitarian response, primarily through the RRMP. UNICEF will, however, align to the objectives and strategies of the multi-year HRP, with an annual target and budget planning.

Results from 2016

As of 31 October 2016, UNICEF had received US$54.5 million against the US$130 million appeal (42 per cent funded).5 Despite a significant gap in available funding, UNICEF reached 2.3 million people in need of emergency assistance. A total of 213,424 children with SAM were admitted for treatment. UNICEF played a critical role in the response to and coordination of the cholera outbreak, supporting 1.6 million people in cholera-affected areas. UNICEF further assisted 90 per cent of children exiting armed forces and groups and exceeded its target of 60,000 displaced and refugee children receiving psychosocial support. Despite funding gaps for the treatment, care and reintegration of sexual violence survivors, in 2016, more than 3,000 survivors received assistance. Only 40 per cent of WASH and NFI and 26 per cent of health targets were reached due to insufficient funding and the increasingly insecure operating environment. Through the underfunded Central Emergency Response Fund allocation, a total of 250,190 children gained access to quality education and psychosocial support. The RRMP assisted more than 1.2 million people in education, health, WASH, NFI and emergency shelter materials. More than 24,000 families were further assisted through the Alternative Responses for Communities in Crisis cash transfer programme.

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Funding requirements

In line with the country’s inter-agency 2017–2019 HRP,11 UNICEF is requesting US$119,125,000 to help children and families in need of humanitarian assistance in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2017. Without continued strong support for this protracted and often forgotten humanitarian emergency, UNICEF and partners will be unable to continue to support vulnerable populations. UNICEF will aim to adapt its strategies according to the evolving humanitarian environment in 2017.

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1 Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ‘Democratic Republic of the Congo Humanitarian Response Plan 2017’, OCHA.
2 Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
3 Democratic Republic of the Congo Ministry of Health.
4 United Nations Children’s Fund.
5 Available funds included funding received against the current appeal of US$40 million and US$14.5 million carried forward from the previous year.
6 The requirement takes into account the costs of supplies and technical support for children affected by SAM; SAM programme management will be made by international non-governmental organizations funded directly by donors.
7 Health costs are reduced from 2016 following a review of the minimum intervention package, testing of some cash approaches and using the RRMP mechanism to reach more people and saving on transaction costs (e.g. with one partnership agreement covering multiple sectors).
8 UNICEF decided to focus its resources and capacity on key issues where UNICEF has an added value in the Democratic Republic of the Congo such as disarmament, demobilization and reintegration; children associated with armed forces and armed groups; sexual and gender-based violence and socio-economic reintegration. In addition, the caseload of unaccompanied and separated children is very low in the Democratic Republic of the Congo compared with other countries facing massive displacement.
9 The RRMP budget was adjusted according to its latest review of sector packages.
10 In 2016, UNICEF developed an assessment tool to determine the minimum basket expenditure for its cash intervention. In addition, UNICEF will use the RRMP mechanism to reach part of its targeted population. Going at scale has demonstrated a drastic decrease in the cost of transfer ratio.
11 Although the Democratic Republic of the Congo HRP is a multi-year document, it has been established with a strategy, cluster needs assessment, targets and funding requirements for one year. This Humanitarian Action for Children appeal is accordingly aligned in duration.