The plight of marginalized Twa/Pygmies in Bulengo IDP Camp in Goma DRCongo

The plight of the highly marginalized Twa/Pygmies in Bulengo Internally Displaced Camp in Goma, the Democratic Republic of Congo

Members of the Twa/Pygmy Community outside their houses in Bullengo IDP Camp in Goma

This Sunday April 21st, 2024 we visited two groups in Bulengo IDPs, mainly the Catholic Community and as we moved back we passed through the Twa/Pygmies place of residence which is popularly in the camp as “ku bambuti” which means the area for “Pygmies”. The visit was part of our activities to help to know about the situation of IDPs in Camps around Goma and in others places in North Kivu.

After we moved around and did not get another place which is called based on people who reside there, was this another way of stigmatizing them and could this increase the level of discrimination against them, they are placed deep inside the camp towards actually the end where in case you came to visit the camp it may be difficult to reach where they are because you will be already tired and you might have seen other situations which have already attracted your attention. They are the minority among other IDPs and they are the most marginalized among other IDPs.

The place where the Twa/Pigmies are living in the camp has nothing that can attract a visitor, there is no road to use, there is no church, no school, no football pitch, no hospital, no market, no restaurant,…


Listening to the Twa/Pygmy Community Leader exchanging to the COJESKI Team in Bulengo

The Twa/Pigmies are extremely vulnerable, marginalized, stigmatized, and their health have highly deteriorated comparing to others people residing in the camp, they are physically looking mal-nourished, too weak and mainly children and women have developed Kwashiorkor.  

, children are necked, women without clothes, no shoes, and clearly dirty because they rarely wash either their clothes of their bodies, and they do not cut off their hair from the head. They are living in houses (plastic tents which are highly different and of poor quality than others in the same camp). They are isolated to themselves there is no religious leader that focuses on them, they do not access to football pitch in order to play and cannot move around the town.

This is what one among the elder and their leader told us “ when we came here, because of our way of life and our behavior which are different from other people, we realized that there were tensions and violence between us and other people from other ethnic groups, so we requested the chairperson of this camp to designate a specific place for us so that we can manage our people very well because we know each other, that is how he placed us here and since then problems with other communities members from other ethnic groups ended. We are so many ethnic groups here but we are the most vulnerable and the most marginalized, sometimes we hear that Tutsi are marginalized and discriminated, please come and show us here a Tutsi who is suffering like us”.

One among the vocal Pygmy Community sharing how they are discriminated and marginalized in the Camp

“Many among us are not yet registered here despite the fact that we have been in this camp for almost two years now and the consequence is that we do not get relief, we are weak and we do not have a voice so that we can also struggle in order to be registered, we have talked to the camp authorities here but in vain, the aid workers really reach this place where we are and those we managed to see did not care about us, there are jobs which are given people in this camp but we are discriminated, other ethnic groups are involved in so many generating activities, this is not our way of life and on top of that we are discriminated by others, no one comes to buy something from a Twa/Pigmies, others have relatives in town and move there to look for jobs but us we have no one, and even if we move towards town we become more a subject of curiosity, attraction to other people, laughing subjects, people come to look at us along the way rather than perceiving us as in need and at the search for support. Other communities always get people to visit them and bring them food but no one comes to visit and help us here”.

COJESKI being briefed about the situation of Pygmies in Bulengo IDP Camp in Goma, Pygmies have arguments and ideas on what should be done,

All these stereotypes and stigmatizations have confined us here alone, even religious groups who sometimes help other people do by-pass us and go towards other people.


COJESKI North-Kivu

To urgently share with all aid workers and humanitarian organizations what we saw on the situation of Twa/Pygmies so that they may take informed decisions,

Advocate for urgent emergency relief aid to Twa/Pygmies and at the same time call upon the humanitarian agencies to put in place a particular intervention towards Twa/Pygmies, these interventions should be based on Equity but not Equality,

To put in place particular activities focusing on the integration, cohabitation, reducing stigma and discrimination, awareness about health and education opportunities,

Raise up their voice and empower them to participate in decision-making and create opportunities for them to express in various places,

Mobilizing members of the Communities to help the Twa/Pygmies and promote activities of solidarity towards them,

Humanitarian Aid Agencies

To urgently deploy teams on ground in order to evaluate what the Twa/Pygmies needs,

To urgently offer them nutritive food and support to construct better shelters among other relief aid they may need,

To put in place specific activities that focus on health education, especially put in place the WASH Programme focusing mainly on Twa/Pygmies,

To consider Twa/Pygmies as one among marginalized and people at risk in camps and put in place special interventions,

Congolese Authorities

Put together all Twa/Pygmies who are scattered in different camps and for this consider to relocate them to Rusayu Camps which may have better surviving opportunities to them especially livelihood opportunities,

Ensure that Twa/Pygmies are included in the leadership of the camps so that they can advocate for their causes,

Kulihoshi Musikami Pecos

Provincial Coordinator/ COJESKI North Kivu/ DRCongo


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