FXB started working in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in October 2009. Since then, it has led three FXBVillage programs, bringing 1,845 children and adults out of extreme poverty.
Despite having one of the world’s largest reserves of minerals, oil, wood and virgin lands that are very fertile, the DRC is one of the world’s poorest nations. It ranks 186th out of the 187 countries listed in the 2013 United Nations Development Program’s (UNDP) Human Development Index.
The North Kivu province and its capital, Goma, have made headlines around the world over the past few years, as the Congolese army and rebel groups terrorized the local population, forcing thousands of families into exile. For all these refugees, the default destination is Goma due to the presence of MONUSCO, the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has been authorized to provide regional security. In just a few weeks in 2011, the population of Goma swelled from 400,000 to more than 1.1 million by 2012.
This massive influx of refugees has further increased the level of misery in the city. Poverty is a daily reality for the majority of residents, 60 percent of whom are children.
The population of North Kivu suffers from unbearable living conditions due to poverty, ignorance and anarchy:
- The majority of families live far below the poverty line, with no access to drinking water, for example.
- For employment, most people rely on petty trading (e.g., food vending, charcoal, firewood and water selling) and casual labor (e.g., washing clothes, loading vehicles and cleaning compounds). Without a regular income, nutrition remains highly uncertain for the majority of households.
- Health facilities were destroyed and looted during the war, and there is an excessive commercialization of medical services that are of very poor quality. Of every 1,000 children, 140 die before turning 1 year old, and 237 die before the age of 5. The immunization coverage is 59 percent; assisted deliveries are estimated at 51 percent while 62 percent of the population sees traditional healers.
- The education rate among the population is very low at just 30 percent, and the school enrollment rate is 46.5 percent for girls and 58.4 percent for boys.
- Schools are poorly equipped and in a state of dilapidation. Payment by parents to teachers is also a problem. With the costs per month per child varying from $2 to $5 at a primary level and $5 to $10 at a secondary level, many low-income families are unable to afford education.
- A majority of poor communities live in shanty houses that offer affordable rent but often come with poor sanitation, flooding problems and no toilets or pit latrines.
- Goma offers poor healthcare facilities with only one public hospital that is poorly supplied with both doctors and medicine.
- Families face severe difficulties keeping their children in school, as they can’t afford the fees and school supplies. Some children can’t get an education because of poor health. Only 52 percent of children are enrolled in school.
- The majority of the population lacks access to information on preventing or curing HIV/AIDS infection. The average prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS is 5.4 percent in North Kivu and varies between 24 and 30 percent among pregnant women.
Our areas of focus
FXB started working in DRC in October 2009 with the launch of its FXBVillage poverty eradication program in Keshero (Goma).
Three FXBVillages in Keshero, Bukama and Ndosho completed their activities between 2012 and 2014 bringing 240 families (1,845 children and adults) out of poverty.
Our future plans
- Find new partners to replicate the FXBVillage poverty eradication program to support and empower vulnerable families of Goma.