The Democratic Republic of Congo hosts a large number of refugees, particularly due to its border with the Central African Republic currently under conflict. The displaced people have little access to decision making and to the organization of the site where they live. ACTED contributes to the reinforcement of social cohesion between host and refugee communities, notably in the East of the country in the province of North Kivu.
With the support of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Civil Protection and European Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), ACTED responds to the immediate needs of IDPs and encourages community participation in the humanitarian response by supporting and strengthening existing governance structures. This approach is built around community centres which are key exchange points for affected populations.
To encourage IDPs to participate in decision-making, ACTED supports the creation of committees. Host areas are organized into groups of people in the form of committees, such as area steering committees. Their role is to act as intermediaries between the displaced and the host community, humanitarian partners who provide services, and local authorities. The committees are also involved in conflict resolution and help maintain dialogue between displaced populations and hosts.
In the Kibirizi health zone in North Kivu, teams conducted an assessment of the structures to better understand the community dynamics in place. The results of the assessment were shared with the local population to ensure their full participation in the project and that their perspective was taken into account. Community governance structures, including existing committees, were trained on humanitarian principles, community participation, conflict resolution, and the protection of community members, including gender-based violence and child protection.
In order for the committees to be able to carry out their activities as interlocutors, a dedicated community space is made available to them. For this purpose, ACTED has sought to identify an existing community space to be revitalized and refurbished, or built semi-permanent centers as in Kibirizi. This center allows the committees to gather, exchange and organize themselves to represent the members of their community.