KINSHASA – The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), through the German Development Bank KfW, has contributed EUR 50 million (USD 54 million) to a resilience building programme in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The program will be implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in the east of the DRC.
The four-year programme (2020 – 2023) aims to bring relief to over 180,000 people living in rural areas – most of them smallholder farmers – in Walikale territory in North Kivu and Mwenga and Walungu territories in South Kivu.
The farmers will receive assistance to strengthen their agricultural production and post-harvest management, diversify their income generating activities, and improve nutrition and basic social services. This, in turn, will contribute to peace and stability in the region.
DRC is one of the most fertile countries on earth and has great agricultural potential with approximately 80 million hectares of arable land – the second-largest cultivable area in the world after Brazil. It is also home to approximately half of the continent’s water resources. Yet, its potential remains largely unexploited and it remains one of the poorest countries in the world.
In North and South Kivu, the socio-economic fabric has been destroyed by decades of conflict, displacement and recurring agricultural and climate shocks. Local warlords often take advantage of adolescents’ vulnerability and low levels of education to enroll them in armed groups.
FAO Representative in the DRC, Aristide Ongone Obame said, “Building resilience is fundamental to strengthening nutrition-sensitive agriculture, social cohesion and access to basic social services for vulnerable populations. Without food security, there can be no peace. The integrated approach of the FAO-UNICEF-WFP project will help boost vulnerable communities’ food security and nutrition.”
UNICEF DRC Representative, Edouard Beigbeder said, “This joint programme offers us the opportunity to break this cycle through building resilience – making households, communities and national systems better equipped to prevent and cope with similar shocks in the future in ways that support economic and social development, preserve integrity and protect children.”
WFP’s representative in DRC, Claude Jibidar said, “WFP, which has made strengthening community resilience a central focus of its operations, believes a joint approach with FAO and UNICEF can provide more comprehensive assistance and broader skills training to beneficiaries. This programme will help mitigate the devastating effects of conflicts and agricultural and climatic shocks, and help the communities build a better future for themselves.”
The Government of Germany has been supporting resilience building activities in the Kivus since 2017 with a contribution of EUR 35 million through a joint FAO-WFP programme due to wind up in 2020. The new programme will build on the successes of this programme, which has reached more than 400,000 people.
WFP, as the largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, brings to the project its vast experience in supporting commodity aggregation, post-harvest handling and storage, marketing and nutrition. FAO helps protect and restore people’s agriculture-based livelihood by supporting community farmer organizations in food production and processing, seed protection, as well as social cohesion. UNICEF brings its experience in addressing severe acute malnutrition and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and by promoting education for peacebuilding at all levels, with a focus on women and children.
The programme is launched on 4 March in Goma and on 6 March in Bukavu by the Governors of North and South Kivu, senior representatives of WFP, FAO and UNICEF, representatives of the respective provincial governments and senior representatives of the German Government and other international cooperation.