Increased violence forced more than 1 million people in the Democratic Republic of Congo to flee their homes in search of safety. During heavy fighting between April 21 and May 5 in the Kasai Oriental region of the country, more than 125,000 people – roughly 8,000 a day – fled to safer areas of the country. Health and education facilities have been destroyed, houses looted and burned, and violence is rampant. This has forced families and children to flee for their safety into the bush, remote fields and host communities as opposed to official sites or camps where support is available.
Protection services to children, women and men
Food production has been affected by the displacements, and the prevailing security concerns have disrupted farming activities for the current agricultural season. The already severe levels of food insecurity and malnutrition are expected to worsen in the run up to the lean season, starting in April 2017. Children are at increased risk, for boys the risk is recruitment into militia groups and for girls the concern is increased chancesbeing exposed to gender-based violence. They have also been left without access to education services.
Reduce vulnerability of crisis-affected people, especially women and children, and improve their ability to meet their basic needs
• Support the creation and functioning of community level child protection networks
• Educate staff and community members on preventing and responding to sexual and gender based violence, including training for the provision of gender and age based psychosocial support, health care and legal assistance to survivors of sexual and gender based violence.
• Raise awareness on the harmful effects of family separation and association with militias
• Support the identification of separated children, providing medical care if required and helping trace their families
Save the Children has been working in the affected area since 2003 with ongoing operations across the provinces. It operates in 35 health facilities in the affected provinces, with tangible achievements
in the area of child protection. Save the Children has extensive knowledge of the areas as a result of its presence in the territories and enjoys a good level of acceptance due to its excellent relationships with the communities. As such, Save the Children can quickly launch an emergency response with a team made of medical staff, child protection, education, logistics and other support functions.