Goma, República Democrática del Congo
Children and youth
170 children and youth who were victims of violence have received support to facilitate their psychosocial recovery and reintegration into the community by receiving the opportunity for a dignified life after being demobilized from armed groups. Project executed in 2019.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo, a country located in the heart of Africa, has the 3rd lowest per capita income in the world and is ranked 178th out of 188 countries in the world by the Human Development Indicator. The Province of North Kivu has the highest poverty rates in the country: 60% of the population lives below the poverty line out of the approximate total of 6 million living in this Province, and there is a very high rate of unemployment and food insecurity.
The high number of displaced people who come to Goma as a refuge area has tripled its population in a matter of a few years. Living conditions are increasingly precarious, and much of the population does not have access to drinking water or electricity. Daily activities like washing one’s hands or doing chores when the sun has gone down are impossible for the population.
The population of Goma experiences murder, looting, extreme poverty, forced displacement, sexual violence, and so on. The waves of war have been recurring cyclically for more than 20 years, making the city of Goma one of the most dangerous areas in Africa and the world, with a life expectancy of 44 and a primary school enrolment rate of 34%. A part of this violence is perpetuated by children, mostly former child soldiers who return to the city and, rejected by the families, find their way of livelihood in a criminal way.
Through this project, comprehensive support was provided to 170 child victims of violence in Goma prisons. These children have been victims of violence: they have been torn away from their families, they have grown up in a violent criminal environment, and they have suffered abuse. But they are imprisoned because they have also been forced to be accomplices in that violence. Their uprooting and particular vulnerability make it difficult for them to reintegrate into society.
CODESPA is working in partnership with Children’s Voice and with Goma’s prisons. Together, they have designed a program to re-educate these incarcerated children in peaceful coexistence. The program is centered around two axes:
- Promoting a safe environment to help 140 of these children recover from the traumas they have experienced through socio-educational activities and psychosocial support.
- Promoting the reintegration of 30 of these young people into the community with job training workshops and helping them find and reunite with their families.
The Codespa Foundation is an international development cooperation NGO with a mission based on valuing and respecting the dignity of people. Its mission focuses on the creation of employment and entrepreneurship opportunities among vulnerable individuals in places where external help is essential. Codespa promotes the economic development of these communities, and through its projects, it creates the conditions for them to be autonomous and sustained over time.