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April 20, 2024

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congo kin    Congo - Kinshasa   

The Democratic Republic of the Congo, also known as Congo-Kinshasa, DR Congo, the DROC, the DRC, or simply either Congo or the Congo, and formerly Zaire, is a country in Central Africa. It is, by area, the largest country in sub-Saharan Africa, the second-largest in all of Africa, and the 11th-largest in the world. Wikipedia

Capital: Kinshasa

Dialing code: +243

President: Felix Tshisekedi

Population: 86.79 million (2019) World Bank

Currency: Congolese franc

Official language: French

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  1. Kigonze camp, located two kilometers outside Bunia, serves as a refuge for 20,000 displaced people who have fled multiple attacks by various militias across Ituri province and the wider eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo). Despite efforts to combat violence, including the declaration of a state of emergency in May 2021, the number of displaced individuals continues to rise. This report examines the situation in Kigonze camp and explores the initiatives undertaken by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to promote self-sufficiency among the displaced population.

  2. Background: According to a November 2021 report by the UNHCR, the number of displaced people in DR Congo has reached a staggering 5.6 million, highlighting the severity of the crisis. Ituri province has been particularly affected, with numerous attacks on internally displaced persons (IDP) camps by rebel groups. In February 2023 alone, these attacks resulted in the tragic loss of 94 lives.

  3. Challenges Faced by the Displaced: The situation in Kigonze camp reflects the hardships experienced by the displaced population. Families who sought refuge in IDP sites continue to face threats, even within the supposedly secure camp. Dénis Oulai, head of the UNHCR office in Ituri, emphasized the need to strengthen security measures to prevent attacks on IDP sites, underscoring the importance of advocating for improved security arrangements with the Congolese government.

  4. Promoting Self-Sufficiency: In response to the overwhelming needs and limited funding, the UNHCR has taken proactive measures to empower the displaced population and reduce their reliance on external assistance. One such initiative is providing training in new skills to the residents of Kigonze camp. Individuals, like Torashi, who have lost loved ones to the conflict, are being taught practical skills such as soap making and tailoring, enabling them to generate income and become self-sufficient.

  5. Impact and Testimonials: Torashi, a resident of Kigonze camp who tragically lost her husband and two children due to the conflict, expressed her gratitude for the training she received from UNHCR officials. She has learned how to make soap, which she can now sell outside the camp to support her family. Torashi highlighted the challenges faced in the camp, particularly regarding food scarcity and the temptation to seek employment in the town to earn meager wages. However, the training and work opportunities provided within the camp have helped her avoid such hardships and focus on supporting her children.

  6. Funding and Self-Reliance: UNHCR acknowledges the immense needs of the displaced population and the limited funding available for humanitarian aid. In light of this, the agency has prioritized initiatives aimed at fostering self-reliance rather than relying solely on external funding. This approach allows the displaced individuals to acquire skills that can help them generate income and support themselves and their families, mitigating the impact of funding shortages.

  7. Conclusion: Kigonze camp stands as a testament to the plight of displaced people in Ituri and the wider region of eastern DR Congo. Attacks on IDP camps have forced families to seek shelter in these sites, but even there, they remain vulnerable to further violence. The UNHCR's efforts to empower the displaced population through skill training and self-sufficiency initiatives have provided a glimmer of hope in an otherwise challenging situation. However, sustained support from the international community and the Congolese government remains crucial to ensuring the security and well-being of the displaced and to ultimately resolving the ongoing crisis in the region.

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(UNHCR)
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
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Humanitarian Impact
  20,000
      Affected Persons

OCHA coordinates the global emergency response to save lives and protect people in humanitarian crises.

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