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Within and Without the State: Democratic Republic of Congo

Within and without state in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

Having suffered war between 1998 and 2003 with the loss of more than 5 million lives, the DRC is still affected by conflict in the East. In the western province of Equateur, which is the focus province for WWS, there is very little actual conflict, but development indicators remain near the very lowest globally.

A new phase

Having withdrawn from Yemen, WWS is in the start up phase of a programme in Equateur which is modelled on the Community Protection Committees which have worked so well in Eastern DRC. In the East, these CPCs identify protection issues and work between communities and armed groups to broker peaceful solutions. Promoting a process of non-confrontational dialogue and strengthening women's voices within it has had tangible results in reducing abuses, improving gender equality and developing more positive relationships between citizens and those in power. After a detailed gender and situation/power analysis, WWS plans to work along similar lines in the West. This will include working with local people on specific issues such as arbitrary arrest or illegal taxation. WWS will be looking to engage with local authorities and community structures on action that can be taken, piloting protection structures as a form of governance programming.

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