IRC calls for support from donor community, hails “resilience” of Congolese
NORTH KIVU, Democratic Republic of Congo - Photographer Aubrey Wade met primary school teacher Uwizera Desange when he was documenting the International Rescue Committee’s work in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has been engulfed by conflict for more than a decade. The IRC is working in Congo to save lives, revive communities and help ensure that more children can go to school — even during a crisis. We have trained thousands of teachers and enabled almost 500,000 children to access basic education in safe classrooms.
Kinshasa With only five years to go, the Democratic Republic of Congo is far from reaching the Millennium Development Goal of primary education for all by 2015. Nearly half of Congolese children (more than 3 million) are estimated to be out of school and one in three have never stepped into a classroom (1). Universal primary education is one of the key Millennium Development Goals and identified as a priority by the Congolese government, yet funding for education programmes remains extremely limited.
The International Rescue Committee, which carried out a series of mortality surveys in the Democratic Republic of Congo from 2000 to 2007 in conjunction with some of the world's leading epidemiologists, strongly affirms its finding that an estimated 5.4 million people died as a result of war and humanitarian crisis in the conflict-ridden country since 1998. The IRC dismisses assertions in a research paper by the Human Security Report Project that attempt to discredit large-scale mortality surveys in general and our Congo mortality studies in particular.
Women and girls in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo are experiencing increasingly brutal sexual assaults and the UN peacekeeping mission, mandated to protect them, is not doing an adequate job, says the International Rescue Committee, a leading aid group assisting thousands of rape survivors in Congo. For more than a decade, the bodies of women and girls have been used as a battleground for armed groups waging war in Congo. This year alone, thousands of women and girls have been raped, attacked and abducted in North and South Kivu and the situation is growing worse.
Two remarkable IRC women are being publicly recognised for their outstanding achievements working with refugees around the world. Sarah Spencer, the IRC emergency response team's gender-based violence specialist, was last night awarded the International Angel category of Cosmopolitan magazine's Ultimate Women of the Year awards, chosen from thousands of nominations for exceptional women from across the UK. Sarah, who lives in London, has worked for the IRC for four years.
Rebel fighters loyal to Tutsi general Laurent Nkunda have fought their way to the gates of Goma, driving tens of thousands of civilians from their homes. Subsequent killings and lootings by Congolese army troops do nothing to relieve the fear and displacement. Anna Husarska is a senior policy adviser for the International Rescue Committee; when she heard the news she phoned her colleagues in eastern Congo. Aid workers Lisa Bender and Jennifer Melton told her of their brutal attack last week by a succession of armed groups (This article was published in
Human rights groups estimate that hundreds of thousands of women and girls have been raped in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since fighting broke out in 1998. Victims are often left grievously mutilated, infected with HIV, pregnant and cast out by society. Anna Husarska is a senior policy adviser with the International Rescue Committee, a group that works in the eastern regions of the country to bring an end to Congo's 'war on women'.