© UNICEF/HQ03-0345/LeMoyne

A rape victim at a UNICEF-assisted hospital ward in Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Sexual violence is a now-endemic war tactic in eastern regions suffering from more than a decade of upheaval.


While successful elections at the end of 2006 and the surrender of several armed groups have brought relative stability to some areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), armed conflict has persisted and intensified in certain parts of North Kivu and South Kivu provinces in 2007. Since the beginning of the crisis in North Kivu, more than 350,000 persons have been newly displaced. Natural disasters and epidemics also continued to plague areas of the country during 2007 particularly along the Congo River and in the eastern and southern Lake regions. The decade-long conflict in the DRC has deteriorated the well-being and livelihood of children and women throughout the country. Over half the deaths of under-five children are attributed to malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies. DRC’s maternal mortality ratio remains among the worst in Africa at 1,300 deaths per 100,000 live births. Only 22 per cent of the population has access to safe drinking water and 9 per cent to protected water supplies and adequate sanitation facilities. It is believed that between 1,700 and 2,100 children are still with armed groups and forces in the district of Ituri and in North and South Kivu provinces, and to a lesser degree in Équateur. Over 5,000 children who have been released from armed groups require continued support in the process of social reintegration. More than 4.4 million school-aged children, including 2.5 million girls and 400,000 displaced children, are not enrolled in school.


Health and nutrition: Some 8 million internally displaced persons (IDPs), host community members and other vulnerable persons, with a focus on children, will benefit from the following key activities: distribution of essential emergency drugs and equipment to 300 health centres; support for the vaccination of 2.7 million children against measles, 6.5 million children against polio and 1 million children against all other antigens; provision of medicines and operational support in response to cholera epidemics and meningitis outbreaks; distribution of insecticide-treated mosquito nets to 1.5 million children and pregnant women; support to feeding centres for 48,000 malnourished children and their families, including training on good feeding practices; expansion of nutritional surveillance through community-based management strategies; and technical assistance to emergency nutrition partners and mapping of areas at risk of malnutrition.

Water, sanitation and hygiene: Some 500,000 displaced, returnee, cholera-affected and war-affected persons will benefit from a minimum package of safe water, hygiene and sanitation interventions including: access to safe water supply through water point protection and improvement, water trucking and chlorination points, construction of latrines and showers in camps, and hygiene promotion; rehabilitation/construction of piped water systems; promotion of family latrines and hygiene education and awareness programmes in affected communities; construction of VIP (ventilated improved pit) latrines and handwashing stations in schools and health centres; chlorination of surface water used for drinking and awareness-raising on cholera; and in affected urban areas and larger settlements, social marketing of point-of-use water treatment products at household level.

Education: A total of 300,000 displaced and war-affected children and 6,000 teachers will benefit from the following core emergency education activities: provision of basic school supplies and recreational kits; training of 6,000 primary schoolteachers and 500 school principals on HIV/AIDS prevention, gender and equity issues and peace education; rehabilitation of 600 classrooms and associated latrine facilities in the most affected areas; and social mobilization and communication activities in host communities to boost access and retention.

Child protection: UNICEF will address protection needs of some 200,000 children exposed to grave child rights violations in zones affected by conflict, displacement or insecurity through the following activities: strengthening of the Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism on grave child rights violations in situations of armed conflict established under UN Security Council Resolution 1612; support for the release of an estimated 2,000 children who remain within armed groups and have not participated in the official disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme; continued support for the social and economic reintegration of 5,919 children already released from armed groups and forces; support to the reintegration of 15,000 women and children subjected to sexual violence; protection and psychosocial response to some 184,000 children affected by population displacement through the establishment of ‘child-friendly spaces’ in IDP sites, and through support to systems to identify, document, and reunify separated children; emergency protection and reintegration services for some 10,000 children in specific situations of risk – such as those exploited in dangerous circumstances or abandoned by their families.

HIV/AIDS: Some 500,000 children and vulnerable persons will be reached through the following activities: increase by 10 per cent the number of HIV-positive pregnant women who have access to quality prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) services; train 300 peer educators, teachers and community workers in life skills and HIV/AIDS education, strengthen and expand provincial and community-level AIDS prevention networks in targeting the most vulnerable young people; construct 120 needle and syringe incinerators and train 480 health actors in their management.

Mine action: Some 100,000 at-risk people will be reached through the following activities: train 50 trainers in mine-risk education (MRE); strengthen MRE capacity of government, and international and national NGO partners; and implement MRE programmes in targeted at-risk communities.

Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) for emergencies: UNICEF, OCHA and RRM partners expect to assist more than 130,000 internally displaced families (650,000 people) in 2008 through the joint Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM). Key activities will include: assessing humanitarian needs resulting from acute, rapid-onset crises; responding via international NGO partners to the needs of eligible beneficiaries in the sectors of emergency shelter materials and non-food relief items, water and sanitation, and emergency education; monitoring the utilization of supplies and services delivered; evaluating the impact of interventions, and advocating for complementary interventions in key sectors not covered by the RRM programme.

Programme of Expanded Assistance to Returns (PEAR): In 2008, it is expected that UNICEF and its four provincial international NGO PEAR partners will reach some 100,000 internally displaced returnee families (500,000 people). Key activities include: conducting multisectoral assessments in vulnerable return communities; compiling and disseminating assessment results with the wider humanitarian community; intervening in targeted return communities in non-food item/emergency shelter material distributions, and supporting resumption of primary education through provision of school supplies and school and latrine rehabilitation.

Cluster leadership and coordination: UNICEF will continue to strengthen the effective, timely and well-coordinated inter-agency response to humanitarian crises by assuming leadership in 5 out of the 10 clusters established in DRC: 1) water, sanitation and hygiene, 2) nutrition, 3) education, 4) non-food items/emergency shelter, 5) emergency telecommunications (co-lead with WFP). It will do so through improved and coordinated planning and strategy development, identification of key partners, standard setting, monitoring and reporting, advocacy, training and capacity-building.

Summary of UNICEF financial needs for 2008
Sector US$
Health and nutrition 34,600,000
Water, sanitation and hygiene 10,000,000
Education 8,000,000
Child protection 9,000,000
HIV/AIDS 2,000,000
Mine action 800,000
Cross-sectoral initiatives
Rapid Response Mechanism for emergencies 20,000,000
Programme of Expanded Assistance to Returns 20,000,000
Cluster leadership and coordination 1,800,000
Total* 106,200,000

* The total includes a maximum recovery rate of 7 per cent. The actual recovery rate on contributions will be calculated in accordance with UNICEF Executive Board Decision 2006/7 dated 9 June 2006.


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