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Democratic Republic of Congo

The DRC is one of the toughest places in the world to be a child.

In 2020, the situation in the country deteriorated with persistent conflicts in the East and an increase in violence in several parts of the country.

The COVID-19 epidemic has affected economic growth even though the major part of the Congolese population was already in a situation of extreme poverty.

Meanwhile, the 10th Ebola outbreak in the DRC, which lasted almost two years, was the second largest in the world.

The country has 5.2m internally displaced people, some 1.4m returnees and 527,000 refugees from neighboring countries, including recent CAR refugees.

Gender-based violence (GBV) and grace violations of the rights of the child remain a major problem.

Millions are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance making this one of the largest humanitarian crises in Africa. 

Andrea in the DRC

What We're doing

By building classrooms, training teachers and distributing learning materials, we’re increasing access to quality basic education for thousands of children.

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

We’re urging the government and relevant authorities to call for the recruitment of children into armed groups to stop; to put mechanisms in place to protect children who have been arrested and for survivors to access support.

We’re calling for schools to become neutral zones, to be free from the presence of violence and be safe and secure places for learning, caring and nurturing.

We've deployed our innovative Emergency Health Unit to provide essential healthcare to children and their families. 

We’ve also set up child-friendly spaces to provide children with a safe space to play and regain a sense of normality in the midst of crisis while teaching them about their rights. Adults are also trained on child safeguarding and the Child Protection Act.


An image of Prisca and her mother Beatrice in DRC

Prisca, 6, with her mother Beatrice outside their home in Ituri Province

When armed groups attacked the village and surrounding area where Prisca lived, she was forced to flee, along with her mother and grandmother.

They walked for miles to a nearby camp, passing many dead bodies along the way, with just a small bag each and the clothes they were wearing.

Although Prisca is pleased to be away from fighting and the sound of gunshots, life in the camp is not easy - she sleeps on the floor with just a thin blanket for warmth, and she and her family have very little food to eat each day.

Prisca is now part of a Save the Children programme which helps displaced children to return to school, providing them special lessons to catch up with the schooling they have missed. She also received a school uniform, some notebooks and pens from the charity.

Ebola in the DRC

Elise* attends an Ebola awareness session in North Kivu, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Elise* attends an Ebola awareness session in North Kivu, the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The 10th Ebola outbreak in the DRC, which lasted almost two years, was the second largest in the world. 

The response to the epidemic was difficult, due to the insecurity/conflict and false information/rumours that disrupted emergency efforts. 

Within days of the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, our Emergency Health Unit was there supporting local hospitals and health centres.

It helped identify Ebola cases, train healthcare staff in infection prevention and control, and start a mass education campaign to tackle the fear and misinformation that were fuelling the spread of the deadly virus.

Page updated October 2021

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