How best can solve this humanitarian crisis in North Kivu and in Goma: What we are doing is worth it

Engaging the Board of Directors to support the move to change our advocacy approaches towards Internally Displaced Persons in North Kivu, the Democratic Republic of Congo

Playing with children in Lushagala IDP Camp, around Goma, DRC

On Thursday July 4th, 2024 I the Coordinator appeared before the Board of Directors to defend the current approach of the organization towards IDPs and to respond to questions from Board members on various issues they were not updated.

On top of pushing for the end of war so that IDPs can go back to their villages which still one among the priorities which we have, there is need to focus on the current situations which affect both IDPs and the host communities, these include the security of IDPs in Camps, the relief aid, transparency in the current aid relief and participation of IDPs in decision making are part of our new approaches.

However questions remain

Cooking Porridge for the malnourished children in the camp

We are now giving food to people in camps, could this make the organization appear like a humanitarian relief aid? What is the impact of such activity? How long can we do it? How many people can we offer food, and how many times can we do it in a month? How do we get this food?

Can this approach take away our efforts to focus on peace and the responsibility of the government to provide security to each person?

Among all these questions and many others more, the Coordinator Mr. Kulihoshi Pecos eloquently engaged the Board and convinced on the following details.

First of all thanks for these concerns which I believe are positive and aim at understanding better the situation and to ensure the organization keeps the truck on various issues.

Music Activities with IDP Children in Lushagala

As organization, we should be in the middle of people, and at the center of people preocupations and this is exactly what we are doing. North Kivu has more than 5million IDPs currently among them more than 3million are just near Goma here which is believed to be safe,  some have been displaced at least five times for the last 10 years and this has affected them severely in terms of economic stability. Over the years like the way you can also see it here, most of the interventions are based on relief aid in terms of food and other basic needs, this creates more dependency of people, some among these IDPs have been here for the last three years now, and are still depending on relief aid agencies, we need to advocate for livelihood activities and this may be also another battle. There is a close relationship between the life in camp and vulnerability when people were still in their villages, most of those who were economically poor in their villages are the ones living in camps in dire conditions, so here the main issue is not necessary about the quantity of relief aid but the quality of the aid which may help people to be economically independent from the relief aid. Even if these people go back today, they will still be confronted to the issue of poverty in their villages, the only difference is that in their villages they will suffer alone and we shall not see them languishing in poverty and destitution and those who will die we shall not be blamed. The issue here is about poverty, we need to advocate for the change of approaches.

Camps have already people who are extremely vulnerable and who may only depend on relief aid, this is the category of people we are supporting. Our intention is not necessary to end their hunger but also to ensure that once we are there on that particular day they can have something to eat, we want to help them not to die of hunger today but may be die of it tomorrow and we hope what we are doing may inspire other people in order to come in, the few we are supporting are just a drop of water in the Ocean, however you may be surprised that those we have helped also share with others what we have provided, and life goes on.

So in brief this is how we are going to support IDPs will focus on: Relief Aid to most vulnerable, Advocacy for Economic support and livelihood activities, security to IDPs in Camps, transparency in the whole humanitarian actions and peace so that IDPs may go back to their villages, the challenge is only one which we have and it is the lack funding.


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