The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is one of the hardest places on earth to be a child.
Decades of corruption, armed conflict, and lack of investment, combined with the effects of natural disasters and recurrent outbreaks of cholera, measles, and Ebola, have left millions of people in extreme poverty. The country has been in a humanitarian crisis for decades and the situation on the ground is only expected to worsen.
Education remains a country-wide challenge, with access to schools a particular problem for children living in conflict-affected areas. Widespread displacement caused by conflict and insecurity is forcing desperate families to make impossible choices, primarily affecting women and children. Between January and September 2021 alone, over 74,000 cases of sexual violence were reported, with women and girls accounting for 94% of these.
Recruitment of children and young people into armed groups also remains widespread in the DRC. In addition, hundreds of children and youth who had accepted to leave armed groups in 2020 and 2021 are still waiting for some form of support towards reintegration. In the absence of alternatives, they are at increasing risk of returning to armed groups.