In line with commemorating the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (IDEP), GNRC–DR Congo together with BIFERRD organization conducted two consultative meetings with the Kinshasa community including children and youth on 17th October 2018; a focus group discussion with the deprived families of Eastern DR Congo, and another consultation with religious leaders, professionals, parents and caregivers to seek sustainable solutions to ending poverty.
The meetings brought together three hundred (300) participants who shared how the problem had affected their community including themselves. During the meetings, parents highlighted the issue of insecurity in the country brought by the ongoing-armed conflicts. The conflicts have had drastic impacts on the economy and development of the country. Food security has also been affected with farmers witnessing first hand the disruption of agricultural land and its production. “We cannot have access to our lands for cultivation because of the active armed groups,” commented one of the parents. Violence, more so to women and children, has also affected learning in institutions to the extent that children can no longer go to schools or even seek proper healthcare, factors that are vital in a child’s upbringing.
Children were also given a platform to talk about their plight on poverty. It was realized that children are vulnerable to poverty making some orphans, abandoned, uneducated, unprotected or even unhealthy and ending without access to basic needs. The dangerous situation leaves children and youth unable to pursue their dreams.
It was noted that children are displaced during conflicts with no one to venture for them. Many of these children are at times victims of child trafficking. Participants complained that the government has failed in supporting the vulnerable persons in the community, and more is expected from the government in order to regain the citizens’ confidence.
As a step towards self-sustainability, the community shared their efforts on mitigating poverty including starting a microfinance system, Village Savings and Loans (VSLA); which aims to help individuals increase their incomes and capital, and expand their local businesses. The VSLA however called onto organizations to partner with them in realizing their goals.
Poverty is ‘the world’s most ruthless killer’ and ‘the greatest cause of suffering’. The effects of poverty are so devastating, that the phenomenon of poverty merits the undivided attention of governments, human and natural resources, and communities worldwide. It is up to each and everyone of us to own the problem and contribute towards its end.