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Sociotherapy in Congo

We are here in DR Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo is rich in raw materials, but this does not bring prosperity and peace. Instead, it leads to violence, abuse of power, and exploitation. In DR Congo, we witness one of the most complex and long-standing humanitarian crises of our time. 

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The relentless, protracted crisis in DR Congo

people need assistance and protection in 2021
people in DR Congo are experiencing high levels of acute food insecurity
of women and girls in conflict affected areas are survivors of gender-based violence

Focus on recovery

Restoring communities affected by violence

Congo is immense: approximately as big as Spain, France, Germany, Sweden, and Norway combined. The situation in this region is very complex. There are political and ethnic tensions, not just internally but also with groups across the border with Burundi and Rwanda. Armed gangs rove the area, stealing, killing, and raping. In Congo, we focus on offering aid to people who are the victims of these long-standing conflicts.

ZOA's working area is located in the east, on the border with Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi. We work in the northern and southern part of South Kivu: Minova and the Hauts Plateaux de Kalehe, Luberizi in the Ruzizi Valley, Rubanga and Fizi. Since 2018, our main office is in Bukavu, with project offices in Kamanyola and Minova. We work with communities, vulnerable youth, farmers and pastoralists, child mothers and vulnerable (young) women. The two projects in which we participate (IWRM and ARC) are long-term programmes with a particular focus on reconciliation and peace. 

IWRM: Water for peace

The Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in Luberizi is one of our main projects, carried out in a consortium with IRC and Search for Common Ground. The overall objective of the IWRM-programme in Luberizi is peace building between two tribes. ZOA focuses on rehabilitation of irrigation schemes, land rights, and agricultural development. Our partner Search for Common Ground implements peace building activities and IRC focuses on improving access to drinking water. In our view, cooperation with other organisations is crucial. Many problems in DR Congo reinforce each other. Thus, solving one problem is usually not possible without also tackling other aspects. Every organisation in this consortium contributes to an integrated approach from their own area of expertise.

Facts and figures about ZOA's work in DR Congo in 2020

With a team of 36 staff members we supported 20,817 people.

people participated in peacebuilding activities
people improved their food security
local partners enhanced their capacity with our support

ARC: tackling root causes of armed conflict and instability

The Addressing Root Causes (ARC) project in Minova and Kalehe is also implemented by a consortium of NGO's. In this consortium ZOA partners with War Child and VNG International. War Child focuses on economic activities for young people, VNG International focuses on strengthening local authority leadership capacity and ZOA aims at farmers for agricultural activities and land rights.

We also support social cohesion and recovery with Community based social therapy. Community based sociotherapy (CBS) is a community-led approach implemented in small groups of 12-15 men and women, who discuss their daily experiences guided by two well-trained facilitators from the community. The aim of this approach is that the participants learn and experience new constructive behaviour which ultimately has a positive influence on their personal life as well as on their environment. A recent research in Congo confirms that CBS has significantly improved the mental well-being of the participants. 

working together

Donors and partners

Our work in DR Congo is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Royal Netherlands Embassy Kigali, I4S (multi-donor) and our constituency in the Netherlands. In DR Congo, we work with the consortium partners mentioned above and about 8 local organisations (ACP, IJED, BDD, UEFA a.o.).

Women in Congo carrying heavy loads
Francine from Langala, DR Congo

Francine from Langala, DR Congo

Thanks to help from ZOA, people don’t look down on me anymore. I feel I have recovered my dignity. I am less traumatised and other people now seek refuge with me!