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Dimitra Clubs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: improving the prospects for local peace

A community-driven model reinforcing conflict prevention and resilience in the Tanganyika Province

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is the second largest country in Africa, with an estimated population of 85 million people. Despite abundant natural resources, 13.1 million people are severely food insecure –15.5 percent of the rural population (Integrated Food Security Phase Classification 2018). Almost 5 million children under five are acutely malnourished, 2.2 million severely. Conflict and intercommunal violence have made DRC the single African country most affected by population displacement. According to the 2019 Global Report on Food Crises, there are 3 million internally displaced and 4.5 million returnees in the provinces of Kasai, Central Kasai, Eastern Kasai, Lomami, Sankuru, South Kivu and Tanganyika, in addition to 534 828 refugees and asylum seekers mainly from Burundi, the Central African Republic, Rwanda and South Sudan.

Women and youth, particularly young girls, have paid the highest price in the conflict, causing major difficulties in staple food production and marketing systems. Women also face disproportionate economic, social, and health challenges, including limited access to income, land, education and reproductive healthcare. Reports have highlighted an increase in cases of sexual abuse and early marriage, and women victims of sexual and gender-based violence face complete marginalization.

The Tanganyika province is among the most affected by food insecurity and malnutrition and some of its territories are in Emergency (IPC Phase 4). In addition to conflict, food insecurity is caused by a decline in agricultural production due to fall armyworm infestations (particularly in maize-growing areas), floods and insufficient rains, and limited access to land and inputs. Intercommunal rivalries between the Bantu and the Twa – sparked in 2014 during a struggle over natural resources – have worsened since 2016. Resulting armed conflicts have wiped out the few remaining social infrastructures, leading to a climate of fear and the displacement of more than 600 000 Bantu and Twa. Social cohesion, especially in the territories of Nyunzu and Kabalo, is under serious threat.

As part of a joint programme between the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP), FAO implemented the Dimitra Clubs, a gender-transformative approach aimed at improving rural livelihoods and gender equality through collective action and self-help. This document explores how Dimitra Clubs contributed to improving social cohesion and prospects for local peace in the Tanganyika Province in DRC. This promising practice is an example of a resilience-building intervention implemented through an integrated, communitybased, multi-partner approach operationalizing the humanitariandevelopment-peace nexus.

Improving the prospects for local peace through the Dimitra Clubs - DR Congo

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