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Enabling Affected Communities to Survive and Thrive (EAST) Consortium
EAST is a 28-month, £28 million GBP protection and nutrition programme funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) and managed by a consortium of five international and national humanitarian NGOs, led by Concern Worldwide.
Collectively, the Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (Acted); Concern Worldwide (as the lead agency); Congo Handicap (CH); Danish Refugee Council (DRC); and Première Urgence Internationale (PUI) bring decades of experience in livelihoods, nutrition, protection, and inclusion programming in DR Congo, underpinned by robust monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning mechanisms. Over the course of the programme, the EAST Consortium will implement an integrated package of protection and nutrition activities in 10 health zones across 4 provinces in Eastern DR Congo.
The populations of the Eastern provinces of the DR Congo have been subjected to a decades-long humanitarian crisis. Since 2022, there has been a significant deterioration in the security context, with over 1 million people forced from their homes in 2023 alone. With 6.9 million internally displaced people currently seeking shelter in informal sites or with host communities, DR Congo is the largest displacement crisis on the African continent.
Approximately 6.7 million people in DR Congo are in need of emergency food security assistance, an increase of 10% compared with 2022. With heightened insecurity impeding physical access to key services, and a lack of functioning health facilities, the already acute nutritional crisis is worsening. The majority of territories within the four most affected provinces in the East of the country are facing catastrophic levels of protection risks linked to land, housing and property, with the most vulnerable often resorting to extreme coping strategies in order to survive (June 2023 Protection Analysis by the Global Protection Cluster).
Concern recognises that humanitarian actors cannot address these complex issues in isolation from each other. As part of a coordinated response, the EAST Consortium was established, with funding from the FCDO, to strengthen the resilience and protection of vulnerable populations living in conflict-affected areas in the east of DR Congo.
The EAST Consortium aims to support over 430,000 individuals including 65,000 persons with disabilities across the four most conflict affect provinces of DR Congo: Ituri; North Kivu; South Kivu and Tanganyika.
The EAST Consortium has the following overall objectives:
1. To improve food security and household nutrition through the implementation of targeted interventions aimed at enhancing access for sufficient and nutritious food, as well as promoting sustainable agricultural practices and livelihood diversification.
2. To protect vulnerable households and ensure access to humanitarian assistance, allowing individuals and families to recover from the effects of sexual and gender-based violence.
These objectives will be achieved through a focus on:
- Livelihood support to vulnerable households to facilitate recovery from shocks and improve their means of subsistence.
- Active management and prevention of malnutrition cases.
- Response to, prevention and mitigation of sexual and sexist violence.