Germany has contributed EUR 50 million to strengthen resilience in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), through the German Development Bank KfW disclosed this in a statement on Thursday 5th March, 2020.
The statement added that the contribution was supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).
The contribution aimed at bringing relief to over 180,000 people living in rural areas peopled by smallholder farmers in Walikale territory in South Kivu.
The farmers will receive assistance to strengthen their agricultural production and post-harvest management, diversify their income generating activities, and improve nutrition and basic social services.
This, in turn, will contribute to peace and stability in the region.
DRC is one of the most fertile countries on earth and has great agricultural potential with approximately 80 million hectares of arable land – the second-largest cultivable area in the world after Brazil.
In North and South Kivu, the socio-economic fabric has been destroyed by decades of conflict, displacement and recurring agricultural and climate shocks.
Local warlords often take advantage of adolescents’ vulnerability and low levels of education to enroll them in armed groups.
“Building resilience is fundamental to strengthening nutrition-sensitive agriculture, social cohesion and access to basic social services for vulnerable populations,” said Aristide Ongone Obame, FAO Representative in the DRC.
“Without food security, there can be no peace. The integrated approach of the FAO-UNICEF-WFP project will help boost vulnerable communities’ food security and nutrition,” he added.
“This joint programme offers us the opportunity to break this cycle through building resilience – making households, communities and national systems better equipped to prevent and cope with similar shocks in the future in ways that support economic and social development, preserve integrity and protect children,” said Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF DRC Representative.
“WFP, which has made strengthening community resilience a central focus of its operations, believes a joint approach with FAO and UNICEF can provide more comprehensive assistance and broader skills training to beneficiaries. This programme will help mitigate the devastating effects of conflicts and agricultural and climatic shocks, and help the communities build a better future for themselves,” said Claude Jibidar, WFP’s representative in the DRC.
The Government of Germany has been supporting resilience building activities in the Kivus since 2017 with a contribution of EUR 35 million through a joint FAO-WFP programme due to wind up in 2020.
The new programme will build on the successes of this programme, which has reached more than 400,000 people.
WFP, as the largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, brings to the project its vast experience in supporting commodity aggregation, post-harvest handling and storage, marketing and nutrition.
FAO helps protect and restore people’s agriculture-based livelihood by supporting community farmer organizations in food production and processing, seed protection, as well as social cohesion.
UNICEF brings its experience in addressing severe acute malnutrition and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and by promoting education for peacebuilding at all levels, with a focus on women and children.
The programme was launched on March 4 in Goma and will be launched on March 6 in Bukavu.