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Women and children fleeing deadly violence in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have reported surviving gruesome sexual attacks and genital mutilation by armed men.

Save the Children and its local partners are supporting sexual assault survivors in the DRC. Since fighting escalated, we have scaled up our humanitarian response efforts to meet the growing needs of children. Your support today can help save lives.


Help Children in the Democratic Republic of Congo 

  • The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is one of the worst conflict-affected countries to be a child.
  • Today, the number of people in the DRC facing extreme hunger is among the highest in the world. 
  • Save the Children has worked in the DRC since 1994 to meet humanitarian needs of children, reaching more than 2.5 million people in 2022.
A graphic showing 26M as in the number of people in need of humanitarian aid in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Over 26.4 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in the DRC—or about one in every four people—including 14.2 million children

A graphic showing 30 as in the number of years conflict has been raging in the Congo.

Conflict has been raging in parts of the country for nearly 30 years, with children paying the heaviest price

A graphic showing $2.15 as in the amount 64% of people in the Congo live on each day.

Nearly 64% of Congolese live on less than $2.15 a day, with 60 million living in extreme poverty

Democratic Republic of Congo Conflict: 8 Things to Know

What is life like for children in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)?

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is one of the worst conflict-affected countries to be a child. Every day children are experiencing harrowing violations against their rights.

Half of the population in the DRC does not have access to quality health care. The DRC is one of the countries in the world with the highest infant mortality (70 per 1000 live births), particularly because of low vaccination coverage across the country.

About 45% of under-5 deaths are reported to be directly or indirectly related to malnutrition. In addition, one in two children is stunted and about one in fifteen children is acutely malnourished.

Women and girls are also more likely to be victims of early or forced marriage.

What is the impact of conflict in the DRC?

The conflict in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has caused mass displacement, with over 3.3 million people internally displaced since March 2022, over half of whom are children.

According to UN OCHA, there are currently 5.7 million Internally Displaced People in the DRC, the majority displaced as a result of conflict, natural disasters, epidemics and land and intercommunity disputes.

What is the impact of conflict in DRC on children specifically?

Children continue to bear the brunt of the conflict in northeastern DRC, with horrific violations being committed against them.

The DRC has witnessed the highest number of grave violations against children in armed conflict in the world for a second year in a row in 2022, with at least 2,420 children suffering from 3,377 verified violations such as killing, maiming, abductions and sexual violence.

The UN’s Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict released in June, reported 3,377 United Nations (UN) verified grave violations against children in the DRC of which about 46% involved the recruitment of children – some as young as five - by armed forces or groups.

Many children growing up in the eastern DRC are living through the toughest experiences imaginable. Every day children are experiencing harrowing violations against their rights.

They’ve watched their homes and schools be destroyed. Armed groups force their friends and family members into armed recruitment, and many have survived sexual and gender-based violence, abuse, and abductions.

How has the climate crisis impacted the DRC?

The DRC is ranked 5th in the world of countries most vulnerable to climate change in terms of their adaptive capacity, according to the ND-GAIN index.

How has conflict in the DRC impacted education for children?

The insecurity in the region has disrupted the education of nearly 750,000 children between2022 and the beginning of 2023.

Schools have been forced to close, including around 2,100 schools in North Kivu and Ituri.

As of June 2023, 41,000 displaced children between the ages of 3 and 17 were out of school due to conflict and displacement.

How is Save the Children responding to the cholera epidemic in the DRC?

Save the Children is working with the government of the DRC and other national and international partners working in the region to continue to provide relief to the population and children of eastern DRC affected by the cholera epidemic.

In December 2022, Save the Children supported the response to the cholera outbreak in eastern DRC by providing water and sanitation (WASH) services and essential medicines to health facilities.

What is the impact of clashes between the FARDC (government armed forces) and the M23 armed group?

Since October, there has been an upsurge of violence in Rutshuru territory, as fighting between the M23 armed group and the Congolese army (FARDC) took a more intense turn.

Over 3.3 million civilians have been forced to flee their homes, the majority women, and children, who are paying the highest price. 

What are the conditions like for displaced families?

When the displaced populations flee their villages, they leave everything behind.

Displacement, especially during sowing season livelihoods at risk and increases vulnerability to hunger, and exacerbates the risk of separation.

Women and girls are particularly at risk in situations of displacement, and this is exacerbated by the military state of siege in the East.

Sources: * Unless otherwise noted, facts and statistics have been sourced from Save the Children’s monitoring and evaluation experts. Other sources as follows: Population: CIA World Factbook; The World Bank

How to Help Children in the Democratic Republic of Congo


Save the Children is working across the country to respond to the various threats that children face: conflict, epidemics, food insecurity and natural disasters. With the support of our donors, we've been supporting farming families who have been uprooted from their homes to gain access to farmlands. Our teams are also providing health services to young children and pregnant mothers, as well as working to protect children from the various threats of armed conflict and violence. Your donation makes this life-saving work possible. 

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