Japan grant will save lives in remote part of the Democratic Republic of Congo
UNICEF has said that a $5.5 million Japanese emergency assistance grant to improve nutrition, sanitation and the dissemination of key health messages in an especially poor part of the south-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will save lives.
The money – split three ways between UNICEF, the World Food Programme and the UN refugee agency – will be spent by UNICEF over a six-month period in the territory of Kabalo, a violence-prone and insecure area within the DRC’s province of Tanganyika.
UNICEF’s part of the funding will be used to reduce the number of Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) in children under five years old in Kabalo. Some of the money will be spent to provide access to safe water and a cleaner environment for the treatment of SAM children.
Fecal contamination of the environment and poor hygiene practices remain a leading cause of child mortality in the Kabalo area and UNICEF considers the provision of clean water and sanitation as an integral part of its nutrition interventions.
Some of the money will also be used by UNICEF to disseminate information about COVID-19, especially in schools. Support to health care health care services will also be provided that will include immunization, pre-natal, postnatal and HIV care.
Help for victims of Gender Based Violence (GBV) in UNICEF-supported facilities will also be provided.
It is estimated that there are nearly 4,500 malnourished children under five in the area who will receive nutritional support as a result of the Japanese grant.
“With this support from Japan, UNICEF will provide training and financial support to enable communities to develop income-generating activities for their empowerment,” UNICEF Goma Community for Development (C4D) Manager Ghaffar Gomina said.
“The funding will enable local people to be more independent and give them the resources to take part in the social and economic development of their communities.”
Japan has said that it expects the three UN agencies to spend the money on the provision of food aid, the construction of shelters, nutrition for children and the installation of hand washing stations in 10 primary schools.
Japan’s DRC Ambassador Minami Hiro said that his country was eager to support emergency humanitarian aid in favor of children affected by Severe Acute Malnutrition and unsafe drinking water in the Kabalo health zone.
"We sincerely hope that this contribution will alleviate the suffering of children in Kabalo territory,” he said. “We also remain determined to stand by the DRC to overcome any possible humanitarian challenges that may arise.”
The money will empower community animation cells (Cellules d’Animation Communautaires or CACs) to use UNICEF’s U-Report network to communicate in real-time with communities.
The U-Report social media platform enables people all over the DRC to notify the authorities – through SMS – of shortcomings in the provision of aid and submit feedback. It puts an alert system in place and established a mechanism to submit complaints.
The platform is especially helpful to people in remote areas, enabling them to use their mobile phones to obtain key government information, report problems, propose solutions and take action for positive change in their community.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.