Where we work
Our annual report
Democratic Republic of Congo: Reaching rural communities amid continuing conflict
Across eastern DRC, thousands of people are tired, hungry, sick and scared, living in makeshift shelters tightly packed into informal sites often around churches, schools, monasteries, or other peoples’ homes that they hope might offer a measure of safety. Many of these people have fled conflict several times over the past months, caught up in tides of displacement caused by escalating attacks on their communities.
As the crisis continues, people like Christian Olodo, Concern’s Area Coordinator for North Kivu, work tirelessly to reach the most vulnerable with emergency assistance.
When we speak to him, Christian has just returned from Mokoto, an isolated enclave among rolling hills, where thousands of people fled following violence further north. Mokoto is located in Mweso health zone, eighteen kilometres from Kitshanga. As part of Concern’s SAFER project, Christian and his team of 17 provided aid to those in Mokoto who have been displaced by conflict.
Mokoto has been inaccessible for a long time due to the security situation and the clashes occurring along the main access routes” Christian said. “Concern has been one of the first – among very few organisations- to bring support to those who have been displaced.
After an emergency alert, Concern positioned to respond under its SAFER rapid response programme, a consortium involving a group of humanitarian agencies and with funding provided by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), Christian’s team made the journey to Mokoto to carry out a rapid assessment of the critical needs. A journey such as this is no easy feat given the presence of armed groups in the area and constant risk of vehicles becoming stuck in thick mud due to the rainy season, meaning all the equipment and supplies have to be laboriously unloaded and reloaded.
The team was incredible. Preparation work was required in advance to avoid losses and above all, reach those in need. We did not have any losses or shortages of supplies.
On arrival, the team learned that people were desperate for food, but also in need of utensils and cooking equipment. They had left so quickly, they had carried next to nothing with them.
Following extensive checks to make sure that the provisions would go to the right people at the right time, Concern organised the purchase and distribution of emergency food rations (beans, flour, salt and oil), as well cooking kits for over 20,000 people. The team also supplied menstruation kits to women, to ensure proper hygiene.
Over the course of sixteen days of distribution the team experienced a number of challenges, with conflict in the area forcing a period of suspension, but Concern did not leave until all those identified as in need had received the agreed support.
Throughout the duration of the intervention we organised specific awareness sessions, for example on how to cook in difficult situations as around the site area, there is no available wood to make a fire. Also, we organised a session on how to use the menstruation kits appropriately.
Saving lives and providing a sense of dignity to those whose voices have been drowned out by the sound of conflict is what drives people like Christian. Rarely seen without his two phones, checking in on his teams, locating suppliers, or securing the latest information on the security situation, he is always on the move.
At the time of writing, the main road leading back to Goma is once more blocked due to armed clashes. As so often, Christian and his team agreed to take calculated risks to ensure the emergency intervention could happen in the safest way possible and be completed in as short a time as possible before Christmas. At the same time, Concern’s remaining emergency response teams have been galvanised to reach a further 43,050 people further to the north with emergency cash distributions in record timing before planned elections take place. It might feel like a drop in the ocean. But, like Christian, we will keep going.
The message I want to share is that of the people we’re helping. We have seen children who have gone many days with nothing to eat. I want to thank the donors for their support.
Other ways to help
Give a one-off, or a monthly, donation today.
From mountain trekking to marathon running, join us for one of our many exciting outdoor events!
With an extensive range of alternative gifts, we have something to suit everybody.
Leave the world a better place with a life-changing legacy.
We partner with a range of organisations that share our passion and the results have been fantastic.
Raise money for Concern by organising your own charity fundraising event.