Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): the displaced in North Kivu a priority for JRS in 2012
28 February 2012

JRS continues to accompany the people of North Kivu caught in a cycle of forced displacement. (Peter Balleis SJ/JRS)
Formal and informal education and assistance to people in the most vulnerable circumstances continued to form the three pillars of work carried out by JRS field staff.
Goma, 28 February 2012 – During 2011, Congolese people from North Kivu province were unable to escape the effects of the seemingly never-ending cycle of violence between rebel groups and the national army and continued to suffer the effects of forced displacement. According to UN sources, there were more than 1.5 million internally displaced in the country at the end of 2011, more than 50 percent of whom were from North Kivu.

"Life in the camps is fraught with countless problems. To begin with, it is extremely difficult to obtain basic necessities. Sanitary conditions are precarious, education services are seriously disrupted, and there is a complete lack of privacy and protection from the security forces and a huge risk of sexual violence for women and girls", explained JRS Great Lakes Advocacy and Communications Officer, Danilo Giannese.

In response, JRS Great Lakes redoubled its commitment in the conflict-ridden region, prioritising the protection and accompaniment of thousands of men, women and children in the most vulnerable circumstances.

Projects were strengthened in the six official UN camps, and three unofficial camps around Masisi town where humanitarian assistance is at a bare minimum. Teams also established new projects in five camps in nearby Mweso, involving local people from the surrounding villages to avoid fuelling tension between displaced and local communities.

The pillars of JRS work

Formal and informal education and assistance to people in the most vulnerable circumstances continued to form the three pillars of work carried out by JRS field staff.

In close cooperation with local communities, JRS built four secondary schools in Masisi town and two in Mweso, guaranteeing access to education for more than 1,500 students. More than 200 teachers received training in core curriculum subjects and pedagogic techniques, and 60 schools where provided with teaching materials.

JRS informal education services are designed to encourage IDPs not to lose faith in their own abilities through the provision of training and support to set up income-generating activities. More than 90 girls and 15 boys completed literacy and dressmaking courses. Graduates received 20 US dollars towards the cost of a sewing machine and started their own small businesses. 

Approximately 380 women took part in vocational education courses in literacy and bag-making in Masisi town, after which the bags were sold to JRS for the pupils in the schools. At the end of 2011 these activities were extended to Mweso.

Last year, JRS also established counselling services and began activities to raise awareness of the rights of the victims of sexual- and gender-based violence (SGBV), an evil for which DRC is sadly considered the world capital. Protection for victims and steps to reduce impunity levels are priority issues for JRS in 2012.

"We continue to accompany these people day after day, spending time with them in the camps. We’re aware that our work represents a mere drop in the ocean, in view of the vastness of the suffering which reigns in this part of the world, but we are very determined to restore a minimum of dignity and hope for the future", added Mr Giannese.




Press Contact Information
James Stapleton
international.communications@jrs.net
+39 06 6897 7465