The Democratic Republic of the Congo is located on the equator. With an estimated 90 million inhabitants, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has one of the highest population growth rates in the world. A rapidly increasing population can worsen many issues the Congolese face, like extreme poverty, economic crisis, and epidemic outbreaks.
Although the Democratic Republic of the Congo is rich in natural resources, the Congolese people rarely get to benefit from them.
SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 1989.
In spite of some reforms made to improve the economic situation in recent years, the Democratic Republic of the Congo remains one of the poorest countries in the world. In 2018, around 73% of the Congolese population lived on less than USD 1.90 a day.
Development since the Congo Wars in the 1990s has been hindered by health crises largely due to limited access to sanitation and safe drinking water.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo has the second largest displaced population in the world. Due to disputes fought over decades, millions have fled their homes. Violence is concentrated in the eastern provinces of Ituri and North and South Kivu. Most of the 5.2 million internally displaced Congolese live in makeshift camps and urban areas with poor sanitation and health care. Outbreaks of Ebola and cholera also occur in these provinces. Children live in particular danger here, as they are often recruited as child soldiers.
One quarter of the population of the Democratic Republic of the Congo experiences food insecurity. The food crisis is partly due to violence-induced displacement and collapsing transport links, which greatly weaken agricultural production. Families across the country are unable to access healthy food. Indeed, 43% of children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are malnourished. Even where food is available, high prices and falling incomes mean many people are unable to afford nutritious meals.