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The Democratic Republic of the Congo, known until 1997 as Zaire, is the third largest country (by area) in Africa.
It has a population of 68 million. The majority (80%) profess Christianity, while 10% are Muslim and 10% follow traditional beliefs. French is the official language, and four other languages are recognized as national languages, including Swahili in the eastern provinces.
DR Congo is endowed with vast natural resources. In recent decades these resources have proven to be a curse, as various groups and neighboring countries have fought for control of them. The country has been engaged in various conflicts for most of the last fifteen years. As a result, more than five million have died from war, and associated famine and disease. There is still instability in the eastern region of the country, where rape is routinely used as a weapon of war to terrorize and destroy communities.
ALARM in D.R. Congo
ALARM has been active in DR Congo since 2000, focusing on the North Kivu regions. This is the area of the country that has been most devastated by the vicious conflict. The UN Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs (OCHA) estimated that approximately 1.7 million people from the provinces closest to Goma (North Kivu and South Kivu) had been displaced from their homes as of November, 2009.
In addition to equipping pastors with skills and tools to lead and disciple their congregations, ALARM Congo focuses on reconciliation programs. ALARM has been working with Christian lawyers, judges and human rights activists in eastern Congo, equipping and encouraging them to become mediators, agents of reconciliation and social justice. In the villages outside of Goma, ALARM has formed peace clubs for former child soldiers who are now ages 16 to 21. The peace clubs help these young men return to the community and become productive citizens.
Women are also an important focus, as the violence against them here is arguably the most brutal in the world. ALARM’s conferences for women teach leadership and discipleship, but also trauma counseling and restoring dignity for women—many of whom have had their dignity destroyed by sexual violence.
- Marie Jeanne Munanga Hamuli, Country Director
- Rev. Theophile Kanyabugoyi, Coordinator for Pastoral Ministries & Emerging Leaders
- Byiringiro Kavano Didi, Peace and Justice Coordinator
- Moise Musavuli M’pinda, Administrative Assistant & Accountant