Patient waiting in a clinic in Hombo, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Photo: Ramon Sanchez Orense
Our work in the Democratic Republic of Congo
More than 110,000 soldiers have been disarmed in the Democratic Republic of Congo – approximately one fifth of them are children. Sida's work in the country focuses on achieving a more equal development and strengthening the rule of law.
Sweden's long-term goals in the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, are to work towards reconciliation, democracy and poverty reduction. A continued effort to strengthen the judicial system and the Congolese civil society as well as to improve access to sexual and reproductive health is necessary.
Wherever possible, Sida tries to add value by encouraging cooperation between interventions in different sectors, for example between health centres, the judicial system and the fight against corruption.
The majority of Sida's humanitarian support to DRC is channelled through the UN system and international non-governmental organisations, for example the International Red Cross, Médecins Sans Frontières, the Norwegian Refugee Council and Oxfam. There is also a UN administered fund that brings together almost 15 per cent of the total humanitarian support to DRC, which reached nearly four million people during 2013. Sweden's share of the funding has amounted to 17 per cent.
A lot of support is needed during the transition from a humanitarian crisis to more long-term development, especially in areas where there is a risk that the conflict may flare up again. This is why Sida provides assistance to returning refugees in the form of support to education, health and economic reconstruction.
Democracy, health and reduced poverty
A provisional constitution put an end to the war in the DRC in 2003. Free, national elections were held in 2006, and in 2011 it was time for presidential and parliamentary elections. Sweden has supported the democratic process, providing electoral assistance.
Many crimes against human rights go unpunished. This is the consequence of a poorly working legal system and widespread corruption. Sida is working to build and support judicial processes, for example related to support to crime victims, prosecutors, courts and prisons.
Health indicators in the DRC are alarming and Sweden mainly supports primary health care with emphasis on sexual and reproductive health. Efforts related to pregnancy and childbirth are prioritised, due to the very high maternal and infant mortality rate. Furthermore, Sida supports efforts to address and prevent sexual and gender-based violence. For many years, Sweden has supported the health efforts carried out by humanitarian organisations, and also more long-term efforts to improve health. Most of the Swedish health assistance is channelled through international NGOs, but the Congolese players also need support, if they are to eventually take over the responsibility themselves.
Sweden is also working to support environmentally sustainable agriculture and forestry. Efforts are focused on increasing productivity and returns – in a sustainable way. Greater opportunities are also required for the population to have outlets for their products.
Strengthening the position of women
Women are seriously affected by an unequal development as well as by conflicts. In addition, sexual violence is common in the conflict areas. The improvement of women's situation, health and rights is on the top of the agenda in our support to DRC. To this end Sida co-operates with local organisations as well as several international organisations.
The work to strengthen the position of women in society must continue. Increased equality, equal rights and a greater influence in politics are the goals.