Friday, May 18, 2007

Providing aid in the Congo

Source: United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID)

Date: 11 May 2007

Providing aid in the Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has long been riven with conflict. Despite the 2003 peace deal that ended years of devastating civil war, violence continues to claim lives and force people from their homes - particularly in the east of the country. Recent outbreaks of hostility in the capital Kinshasa have reinforced the need for effective development work to restore security to the nation and tackle the present humanitarian crisis.

DFID’s goal in DRC is to help the people and Government of the country achieve peace and reduce poverty. Our development programme has increased rapidly in recent years. From spending £5.56 million in 2001-02, we have £62 million available in 2006/7 and spending is set to increase further to £70 million in 2007-8, as long as the transition to democracy remains on track. DFID-funded projects that have achieved notable successes in the country include a HIV/AIDS awareness programme, a joint effort with Oxfam to provide water pumps and therefore clean water to villages, and the provision of vital healthcare to victims of rape.

The key components of DFID’s current programme are:

- To re-establish security and strengthen the justice system in the country;

- To support the transition to democracy, including £35.9 million spent on organising democratic elections;

- To help reconstruct the country by investing in transport links, health and education services;

- To provide humanitarian aid to the millions who need it, with funding going towards providing food and shelter, healthcare, and clean water; and

- To improve the management of the country's rich natural resources to benefit all its people.

Working to beat poverty

DFID is determined to help lay the foundations for the reduction of poverty in DRC. DFID supported a research exercise in 2005 in which 35,700 people were consulted throughout the country. For the first time these people had the opportunity to make their voices heard on what poverty means to them, its causes and what should be done to reduce it. This provided data for the development of the Government’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. DFID has been at the forefront of the development of this important document, and is committed to working with the new government to turn it into real action to tackle poverty across the country.

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