Democratic Republic of Congo

Woman carrying water in dr congo

Since 2007, Mercy Corps has supported millions of people in DR Congo with emergency aid, cash assistance, providing access to water and support to health facilities. We are dedicated to supporting communities to survive through crisis and rebuild their lives.


The context

The people of the Democratic Republic of Congo face one of the world's most urgent humanitarian crises, particularly in the east. The deadly combination of conflict and disease has created many challenges in their everyday lives.

Since 1 August 2018, DRC has also been experiencing its tenth Ebola outbreak, in the conflict-affected and densely populated province of North Kivu, with more than 3,400 cases and 2,280 deaths.

Despite its vast human and natural resources, the country struggles with many challenges. A lack of infrastructure, stunted economy and weak governance cause serious hardship and inhibit development efforts. The two-decade long crisis in DRC has been highlighted as one of the most ignored and forgotten crises in the world.

The ongoing conflicts in Democratic Republic of Congo have displaced 5.5 million people within the country. Much of this displacement is happening in the northeastern area of the country, which faces frequent clashes between warring factions. Many civilians get caught in the crossfire, experiencing violence and threats. People trying to rebuild their lives deal with destroyed homes, an underdeveloped economy and poor public health.

Demographic pressures, rapid urbanization, food insecurity and youth unemployment compound problems in DRC. According to the UN, 15.6 million people require urgent humanitarian assistance.

With all of these challenges, people in DRC have many varying needs. Those displaced by war need safe places to live. Those whose homes have been destroyed need resources to build new lives. Those suffering from disease need clean water.

That’s why we’re there. The Congolese people have always stood strong in the midst of emergencies. With integrated solutions that address the root causes of these problems, they can become more resilient than ever.

Mercy corps team member addressing a group in dr congo

Our team

Our team of more than 400 members in DRC are led by Country Director Whitney Elmer. More than 350 of them are from Democratic Republic of Congo and understand first-hand the suffering and trauma that the people they work with have experienced. As members of the first organization in DRC to implement cash distributions, our team pioneered the use of electronic vouchers for food and other urgent needs.

Our impact

Our work in DRC addresses the urgent food and water needs of its people while making long-term investments in economic development. Here are some of our results to date:

  • In 2019, Mercy Corps reached 1.1 million people with information about Ebola risks through Mercy Corps-trained volunteer groups. 
  • In 2019, Mercy Corps provided 260,749 people with emergency cash assistance and 263,184 people with emergency water, sanitation and hygiene assistance. 
  • Mercy Corps is undertaking one of our largest ever infrastructure programs to provide safe drinking water to almost 1 million people.  
  • In order to combat diarrheal diseases, one of the top causes of death for children under 5 in DRC, Mercy Corps has trained 7,000 Congolese women from eastern DRC who volunteer as ambassadors to promote hygiene and sanitation practices in their communities. They reach more than 90,000 households every month.
  •  In 2019, 11,587 farmers participating in Mercy Corps’ food security project in South Kivu produced an estimated $1.4 million of agricultural produce.
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