Map of Democratic Republic of Congo
UNICEF photo: a girl pushes a wheelbarrow full of kids through a village © UNICEF DRC/2015/Dubourthoumieu Children play around with a wheelbarrow in the village of Nsumba in Bas Congo Province.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

In 2016, UNICEF and partners plan for:

children under 5 years suffering from SAM treated


people affected by conflict and disease outbreaks gained access to primary health care


children provided with safe access to community spaces for socialization, play and learning

2016 Requirements: US$130,360,000

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Total affected population: 7.5 million
Total affected children: 4.5 million

Total people to be reached in 2016: 6 million
Total children to be reached in 2016: 3.6 million

Armed conflict, violence and population movement continue to dominate the humanitarian context. More than 1.6 million persons were displaced in 2015.1 Permanent insecurity in some areas, including the destruction and looting of schools and health facilities, has had a major impact on access to basic goods and services. Protection remains a major concern, with a high number of children still active in armed groups (at least 3,240 confirmed)2 and cases of sexual and gender-based violence reported daily. With the resurgence of armed groups in the east, violence and displacement are likely to continue in the near future. Instability may increase due to the multiple elections planned in the country and in the region for 2016. Overall, the Democratic Republic of the Congo hosts nearly 250,000 refugees, including more than 18,774 Burundian refugees newly arrived in 2015 and 110,000 refugees from the Central African Republic in the north.3 An estimated 2 million children are acutely malnourished4 and outbreaks of measles, cholera and malaria also continue to threaten children’s survival. Cholera remains a constant threat, with an overall reported caseload of more than 15,000 in 2015. The year 2015 also marked the largest measles outbreak in the country since 2011, with more than 36,000 cases reported in three provinces by the end of October, representing 80 per cent of all measles cases nationwide.

Humanitarian strategy

2016 Programme Targets


  • 300,000 children under 5 years suffering from SAM treated


  • 210,000 people affected by conflict and disease outbreaks gained access to primary health care


  • 631,015 internally displaced persons and host community members provided with safe water per agreed standards
  • 1,609,774 cholera-affected persons provided with WASH package

Child protection

  • 60,000 children provided with safe access to community spaces for socialization, play and learning
  • 10,000 survivors of sexual violence provided with a comprehensive response


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

NFI / shelter

  • 720,000 internally displaced persons and returnees benefitted from non-food items assistance

Multipurpose cash transfer

  • 21,000 households assisted with an unconditional cash grant or multipurpose voucher fair

UNICEF and partners will continue to deliver large-scale, rapid, multi-sectoral assistance in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), health, education and non-food items (NFIs)/shelter to displaced, returnee and refugee children and host communities. The Rapid Response to Movements of Population (RRMP) initiative will remain at the centre of this strategy, with pre-positioned evaluation and response capacity. UNICEF will increase its use of multi-purpose cash-based response in conflict and transition zones based on lessons from the previous implementation phase and will continue to provide conditional cash grants to schools that enrol vulnerable emergency-affected children for free. UNICEF will expand its rapid response mechanism to address the nutritional crisis with the aim of reaching 300,000 children. The capacities of government health partners will be developed and emergency supplies will be pre-positioned at the provincial level to rapidly respond to outbreaks of cholera, measles and malaria. UNICEF will seek to improve and expand programming for a comprehensive response to survivors of sexual and gender-based violence and to support the reintegration of children associated with armed forces and groups and other vulnerable children. UNICEF will remain committed to humanitarian coordination by leading the NFI/shelter, nutrition, education and WASH clusters and the child protection working groups and will support the facilitation of the cash working group and the gender-based violence working group.

Results from 2015

As of 31 October 2015, UNICEF had received 32 per cent (US$46.1 million) of the US$132 million 2015 appeal, in addition to US$20.4 million carried forward from 2014. UNICEF reached more than 1 million emergency-affected people in eastern Congo and extended the scope of its response to cholera and measles. UNICEF partners accounted for over 65 per cent of all NFI response through the RRMP, the largest response mechanism in the country. Through the Alternative Responses for Communities in Crisis cash transfer programme, UNICEF assisted 8,500 families with multipurpose cash transfers. More than 254,000 severely malnourished children received quality treatment, and 2,580 health workers and 14,125 community workers received training. The WASH-in-nutrition strategy was finalized and has been implemented. Health supplies were provided to treat more than 84 per cent of all cholera cases and UNICEF continued to play a key role in the response to the measles outbreak in terms of coordination, procurement and transportation of response supplies. Through the RRMP health programme, 162,563 internally displaced persons, returnees, host families and refugees accessed free services. Though lack of funds limited the child protection response, UNICEF provided support to the durable reintegration of almost 100 per cent of children associated with armed forces and armed groups. In total, 131,989 children gained access to quality education and psychosocial support in a protective environment.

Funding requirements

In line with the country’s inter-agency 2016 Humanitarian Response Plan, UNICEF is requesting US$130.36 million to contribute to meeting the humanitarian needs of children and families in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2016. Without continued strong support for this protracted and often forgotten humanitarian emergency, UNICEF and partners will be unable to continue to support vulnerable populations.

1 Data provided by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, September 2015.
2 United Nations Children’s Fund, Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (MRM), September 2015.
3 Data provided by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, October 2015.
4 United Nations Children’s Fund, Demographic and Health Survey, 2013.
5 While cluster members use the nutritional emergency thresholds defined in the Humanitarian Response Plan to trigger their intervention (i.e. global acute malnutrition greater than 15 per cent), UNICEF uses a lower threshold (global acute malnutrition greater than 11 per cent plus aggravating factors) to trigger its interventions, which explains the difference of targets and results between the cluster and UNICEF.