WASHINGTON, December 20, 2022 — 3.3 million Congolese residing in the eastern provinces of Ituri, North-Kivu and South-Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are set to benefit from improved access to community infrastructure and community-based reintegration programs that will be financed by a new $250 million International Development Association (*IDA) grant. The grant will also contribute to strengthening the capacity of administrations in the selected provinces, indirectly benefiting the 17 million people who live there.
Eastern DRC continues to experience instability and fragility, and progress towards post-conflict stabilization remains a challenge. An uptick in activity from armed groups has led to thousands of battle-related deaths in the DRC in 2022 alone.
“There is a serious humanitarian situation unfolding in the three targeted provinces where conflict is increasingly concentrated. The level of suffering is unbearable, especially for displaced populations who have had to flee their homes for safety,” notes Albert Zeufack, World Bank Country Director for the Democratic Republic of Congo. “This project is geared toward supporting peace and development in line with the government’s renewed commitment to address persistent conflict in the region.”
The Stabilization and Recovery in Eastern DRC Project will implement activities in several areas including community-based stabilization, community-based reintegration, and decentralizing governance. Based on lessons learned from past engagements, including past disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) engagements, the World Bank will, under the proposed project, support new strategic directions initiated by the government and apply principles that differ from past engagements, including in terms of institutional and implementation arrangements.
“This project will be implemented from the provincial level and has a specific focus on community-based reintegration with nearly half of the total grant ($120 million) aimed at supporting the provision of capacity-building for conflict prevention and management, the provision of small grants to eligible beneficiaries, income generating activities, and the implementation of psychosocial support and mental health services. The community-based reintegration platform breaks from past approaches and is closely aligned with current international DDR best practices,” said Daniel Owen, World Bank Lead Social Development Specialist for the Democratic Republic of Congo.
To cope with the challenging context, the project will rely on the operational delivery model of the DRC’s social fund to rapidly deliver community support in remote areas, support systems at the provincial level to strengthen institutions, and enhance transparency, accountability, and citizen engagement.
The World Bank has provided support to DDR programs in DRC since 2003, and will continue to work closely with partners, including the United Nations agencies and mission (MONUSCO), bilateral partners, domestic and international civil society actors, and faith-based organizations to ensure complementarity. There are ongoing regional peacebuilding efforts including the East African Heads of State Conclave and the Luanda Mediation Process which, together with MONUSCO, constitute a strong front for concerted diplomatic efforts to change the pathway towards peace and reconciliation. This World Bank project is a key complement to these ongoing initiatives.