Democratic Republic of Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is one of the toughest places in the world to be a child. War, hunger and disease have killed more than five million people there since 1998, and 88% of the population lives on less than $1.25 a day.

Children play in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Children play at a school outside Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.

In DRC, rates of malnutrition, chronic illness and abuse are all high, and the vast majority of families live in poverty. Years of conflict and political instability have devastated DRC’s health services. And while mortality rates among mothers and babies are falling, they’re still some of the highest in the world.

In some areas, outbreaks of violence mean that families are frequently forced to flee their homes. Around 1.5 million people are displaced within DRC and 440,000 live in neighbouring countries as refugees.

In a country so vast with so little infrastructure, reaching vulnerable children can be a huge challenge, but we’re building our capacity to respond swiftly and effectively to emergencies, and get help to those who need it most.

Our teams are reducing child deaths by improving healthcare for babies, children and pregnant women. This includes a five-year, £9 million partnership with GSK, which will invest in health workers, infrastructure and life-saving medicines.

By building classrooms, training teachers and distributing learning materials, we’re increasing access to quality basic education for thousands of children. And we’re helping vulnerable young women stay in school through the DfID-funded Girls’ Education Challenge initiative.

We’re also helping strengthen family care systems, and training local leaders and communities to prevent and respond to exploitation and abuse.


Last updated: January 2016.