Democratic Republic of Congo
The conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo has claimed more than five million lives - making it the planet's deadliest conflict since World War II.
But despite the horrific levels of sexual violence and millions of people displaced from their homes and schools, it remains Africa's forgotten war and rarely makes the headlines of the world's media.
Although the conflict has officially finished, much of the country remains desperately poor and the continuing fighting and widespread sexual violence in the eastern regions make it one of the most dangerous places on earth to be a woman.
What we're doing
The War Child Helpline in Goma and Kinshasa is a lifeline for violently abused or mistreated children. The Child Helpline, ‘Tukinge Watoto’ (Let’s Protect Children) is a free service that puts children in touch with trained counsellors and social workers who can refer them to proper care providers. In emergency situations, or if children are at risk, the helpline arranges for them to be taken into protective care.
Strengthening the Capacity of the Congolese Child Protection System
We’re mapping out all the agencies and institutions that provide services to young people in Kinshasa and Goma. This helps us identify any gaps where the social services, schools or community organisations aren’t providing a safety net to identify and protect vulnerable children. We can provide emergency assistance in the short term, but in the long term we’re training the local authorities to build a more comprehensive child protection system.
Community-Led Child Protection
We're empowering local communities to take a stronger role in implementing child protection systems. We are supporting Child Protection Community Networks (RECOPE) to raise public awareness through campaigns and inform children, parents, community leaders and officials towards the implementation of the Child Protection Law (LPPE) and the 117 child helpline to detect, prevent and respond to child abuse, neglect and exploitation within the community. We’re tackling the root cause of some of the problems by trying to change the way that local people and institutions treat children. Many are unaware of what rights children have, and how they are often violated. We’re training the police, army, religious leaders and teachers about issues like corporal punishment or sexual violence against girls.
Supporting children in conflict with the law
Children in conflict with the law are a particularly vulnerable group. We're advocating for the separation of children, in particular girls and young mothers, from adults in prison in Kinshasa and Goma. We are supporting the Juvenile Court and the Division of Social Affairs to identify alternatives to detention for children in conflict with the law and advocating for more decent conditions of detention for children and young mothers. Furthermore, we are actively supporting the reintegration of young detainees into the society following their discharge, with vocational training, income generating activities, psychosocial support and family reunification.
Working with local partners
We work with a number of local partners in the DRC:
Association Nationale des Educateurs Sociaux (ANES)
Bureau de Protection de l’Enfant de la Division des Affaires Sociales (DIVAS)
Bureau du Volontariat pour le service de l’Enfance et de la Santé (BVES)
Concert d’Action pour les Jeunes et Enfants Défavorisés (CAJED)
Mission Marie Mère des Pauvres (MMMP)
Mouvement International des Droits de l’Enfant, de la Femme, de l’Homme veuf et de leur Promotion Sociale (MIDEFEHOPS)
Mouvement de la Jeunesse pour l’Excellence (MOJE)
Parlements des Jeunes et des Enfants (PARJE)
Programme d’Appui et de lutte contre la Misère (PAMI)
Réseaux Communautaires de Protection de l’Enfance (RECOPE)
Tribunal pour Enfants (TPE)