Local Actions, Global Lessons: Overcoming Fragility in DR Congo

Caritas International Belgium Local Actions, Global Lessons: Overcoming Fragility in DR Congo

©Isabel Corthier

©Isabel Corthier


Discover “Local Actions, Global Lessons”, the new publication series on the Caritas network’s commitments with communities facing conflict, disaster and poverty. This first edition highlights our experiences working with people affected by complex crises in DR Congo.

“Local Actions, Global Lessons” aims to highlight local lessons related to humanitarian, sustainable development and rights protection issues. You will be able to explore analyses, testimonies, good practices and policy recommendations.

This first edition brings together analyses and testimonies drawn from the Caritas network’s long-standing commitments towards communities living in crisis situations in DR Congo. We propose locally rooted and sustainable solutions to the major challenges raised by sudden crises, population displacements and rights violations.

These can be summarised in 3 points:

  • Adapt funding to complex crises by making it more flexible, sustainable and accessible to local actors;
  • Foster and evaluate holistic and sustainable approaches (triple nexus[1]) to support populations affected by complex crises ;
  • Strengthen local responses that prevent conflict, build peace, defend rights and promote access to justice.

>> READ the full publication : Local Actions, Global Lessons – Overcoming Fragility in DR Congo

2021: another difficult year for vulnerable people in DR Congo

The year 2021 has been particularly difficult for vulnerable communities in DR Congo. These people have been confronted with a combination of one-off and protracted crises. Food insecurity and vulnerabilities have been severely aggravated by the persistence of armed conflict, socio-economic fragility and the impacts of COVID-19.

DR Congo: Five key statistics in 2021

  • In the first three quarters of 2021, 1,381 Congolese civilians died as a result of prolonged insecurity in parts of the country.[2]
  • DR Congo has the second highest number of internally displaced persons in the world: 5.4 million people. The vast majority (99%) have fled because of conflict and violence in their provinces.[3]
  • About 27.3 million people in DR Congo are acutely food insecure, and nearly 7 million of them depend on food aid to survive. [4]
  • Globally, DR Congo is one of the 10 countries most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.[5]
  • The UN Humanitarian Response Plan for DR Congo ($2 billion) will be about 35% funded in 2021: a sharp decline from 2015 (64% funded) which contrasts with the growing needs identified.[6]

Local roots and responsiveness: the pillars of Caritas' emergency response

The Caritas network’s response to emergencies is based on 2 pillars:

  • local roots which allow to prepare communities for crisis situations,
  • extended by a rapid and flexible response capacity with affected populations

The ‘Grand Bargain’ [7] commitments on the localisation of aid should be used as a compass to improve humanitarian actions in DR Congo and elsewhere.

Caritas International Belgium Local Actions, Global Lessons: Overcoming Fragility in DR Congo

The Caritas Development Bukavu team is particularly close to vulnerable communities in South Kivu © Caritas International Belgium

Caritas' community protection model in remote areas of South Kivu

The Caritas network in DR Congo is convinced that the defence of human rights and the consolidation of social cohesion are essential prerequisites for the inclusive development of communities, as well as for the prevention of conflicts and rights violations.

Local Community Organising Committees (CLOCs) in South Kivu, supported by Caritas Spain, Bukavu, Kasongo and Uvira, provide community-based responses to the peace and justice challenges specific to these contexts.

Caritas International Belgium Local Actions, Global Lessons: Overcoming Fragility in DR Congo

CLOC members in front of their office in Luntukulu, South Kivu. ©Caritas International Belgium

Triple nexus in DR Congo: towards sustainable solutions for populations affected by complex crises

In DR Congo and elsewhere, the Caritas network promotes holistic and systemic responses to sustainably address the needs and expectations of populations affected by complex crises, following the logic of the ‘triple nexus’.[1] This is the case, for example, in the provinces of South Kivu and Kasaï-Central, where Caritas International Belgium and its partners are supporting host, displaced, and returnee communities to rebuild their lives and their societies.

Caritas International Belgium Local Actions, Global Lessons: Overcoming Fragility in DR Congo

Participatory theatre performances on the theme of social cohesion were organised by youth from communities in South Kivu ©Nyiragongo Ngoma Productions / Caritas International Belgium

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Promoted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the ‘triple nexus’ approach aims to link humanitarian, sustainable development and social cohesion actions in order to enhance the sustainability of interventions, reduce vulnerabilities and address their root causes. To find out more:  DAC Recommendation on the Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus


Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), Dashboard, consulted in November 2021


Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), Democratic Republic of the Congo, consulted in November 2021


Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), IPC DR Congo Alert – March 2021, consulted in November 2021


Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative (ND-GAIN), ND-GAIN Country Index, consulted in November 2021


United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), consulted in November 2021


In 2016, the conclusions of the ‘Grand Bargain’ – the process of reforming the international humanitarian system – committed humanitarian actors and donors to strengthening the sustainability and balance of partnerships with local actors and to increasing the flexibility and sustainability of humanitarian responses.

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