DRC. Protecting children affected by conflict In Ituri
24-11-2023 | di COOPI

DRC. Protecting children affected by conflict In Ituri

In Ituri, Democratic Republic of Congo, the population has been experiencing rampant violence since the outbreak of inter-ethnic conflict in 1999. Daouda Mboju, the nutrition expert of COOPI – Cooperazione Internazionale in the country, explains that the project “Integrated multi-sectoral emergency assistance in nutrition and child protection for the populations affected by the humanitarian crisis in central Djugu” aims to improve the living conditions of the most vulnerable people affected by the crisis, thanks to funding from the Humanitarian Fund.

In fact, the area surrounding the city of Djugu is the center of local militia insurgencies that have been occurring periodically since 2017 and is considered the second among the Country's twenty-six provinces in terms of the number of violence on children. Since 2021, the humanitarian crisis has been worsening due to the insurgency of Islamist groups, and the civilian population is frequently forced to displace, young people are conscripted into local militias, and women are often captured and raped.

In the areas of Fataki, Rethy, and Lita, we work to guarantee an integrated response to the urgent needs of the more than 400 unaccompanied displaced minors or enlisted in armed groups. COOPI’s effort has been successful in relocating more than 240 of them to new family contexts, training the communities on how to respond to violence, and creating recreational and psycho-social support centers for the children.

COOPI has been present in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1977 and its most important areas of intervention include protection activities for women and children survivors of violence, projects against the forced recruitment of minors into armed groups, and support for survivors of gender-based violence.