Norwegian Church Aid in the Democratic Republic of Congo
- Presence since: 1990 (Also supported in 1973-1984)
- Funds used in 2017: 38.6 million NOK
NCA in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has adopted a constructive, inter- and intra-group approach for non-violent conflict transformation and changing harmful social norms that perpetuate violence, in particular against women and girls.
NCA in the DRC has three core programmes: GBV, WASH and Peacebuilding. NCA also implements humanitarian WASH responses in conflict-affected areas to provide essential services and address other unmet humanitarian needs.
We use the provision of basic services, such as water and sanitation, as a natural entry point to local communities, promoting trust and goodwill with the population, to work on more sensitive issues such as GBV. Our WASH programme ensures provision of water and cost-effective and appropriate sanitation facilities in targeted areas. Water and sanitation committees are established from within the ranks of local communities where we operate, improving local ownership. Our awareness campaigns on positive hygiene practices have delivered tangible results, such as increased instance of hand washing, which reduces the spread of public health risks. NCA has enhanced its WASH programmes by implementing the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) GBV Guidelines and Violence, Gender and WASH toolkit, which has yielded significant protection against GBV for women and girls who are tasked with daily chores and often venturing out in unsafe areas to collect water.
Sexual and gender-based violence (GBV) is a cruel trademark of conflict-affected areas in eastern DRC, with prevalent gender-regressive norms in the country. Our DRC GBV programme interventions are tailored to reduce GBV in conflict and post-conflict settings. We focus on ending harmful social norms that perpetuate GBV, increasing government accountability to implement legal frameworks, and providing holistic, survivor-centred services to treat and reintegrate GBV survivors. Gender-positive use of Biblical and Quranic texts in our Tamar campaign has proved to be a successful approach to encourage religious leaders and believers to discuss norms that weigh heavily against women and girls, and address gender injustices, including GBV. Underpinning the GBV programme is NCA’s commitment to United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, to ensure women’s participation in decision-making processes at all levels and recognition of their rights.
NCA’s peacebuilding interventions in the DRC focus on reintegrating at-risk-youth, many of whom were formerly associated with armed groups, back into their communities. Special efforts are made to re-build trust between demobilised, at-risk-youth and the community. Local partners equip them with vocational and life skills to help rebuild their lives. NCA and its partners also address increased women’s participation as a means to peacebuilding and conflict resolution, so women can claim their rights at the household and community level.
NCA’s longstanding presence in DRC and credibility built over decades of humanitarian interventions have contributed substantially to its ability to respond to this protracted, and often forgotten, crisis. NCA has operated in more than 35 internally displaced persons sites and host communities. As a global WASH actor, NCA has built up expertise in responding with life-saving WASH interventions by rehabilitating wells, and water purification; constructing latrines and showers adapted for women, girls, and those with reduced mobility; and awareness raising about hygiene practices to reduce public health risks. NCA is an active participant in the WASH, protection, and health clusters.
NCA intervenes in eastern DRC, in North and South Kivu provinces, with a country office in Bukavu and a field office in Goma.
NCA has chosen to implement programmes in both emergency/high-risk areas and lower-risk areas for operational flexibility when the humanitarian space is limited due to insecurity.
In lower-risk areas, NCA tests programme methodologies and work with a longer-term perspective.
We have been operating in DRC since 1994. Together with our partners, through tested approaches tailored to the local population’s needs, NCA supports sustainable development while empowering local communities to be primary actors in their own development.
Norwegian Church Aid believes it is only the people and the communities themselves that can bring about lasting change. We implement our programmes together with local partner organisations and in close contact and coordination with the local government.