Society in Democratic Republic of the Congo
Over 19% of the population belong to the youth group (14 to 24 years). It is alarming that 47% of the victims – of various violent conflicts – come from precisely this group.
Apart from a small minority who find an apprenticeship place in private or denominational institutions, the young people have to “get by”. Sports clubs, church youth organizations and political and social associations only reach a small elite. Poverty and hopelessness drive many young people into the consumption of cannabis, local drugs and alcohol (often home-made, highly dubious fires). Many girls and young women end up in poverty prostitution.
Child labor is widespread across the country, in the makeshift mines in Katanga as miners, in the war zones of the East as child soldiers, or in the households of the rich of Kinshasa as household slaves.
For starvation wages and under the most difficult working conditions, young men seek their luck in artisanal mining. International corporations want to join forces with the Congolese government to take action against child labor, but unfortunately the government of the DR Congo shows little interest in these, in their eyes rebellious, youth. Since 2009 there has been no state youth policy.
The Millennium Development Goals
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a rich – poor country. Infinitely rich in raw materials, a very small minority benefits from the resources of the soil and nature. Two thirds of the population live in absolute poverty, where malnutrition and malnutrition are the order of the day.
There is a lack of jobs, food, water and the most basic sanitation in the cities. In the country there is a lack of roads to market agricultural products. In addition, the internal political conflicts and the ubiquitous corruption hinder successful poverty reduction.
According to the global hunger index, 13 million people in the DR Congo depend on food aid. In 2017, 8 million people in the country suffered from massive hunger. Children, the elderly and the sick, refugees and displaced persons are particularly affected.
60% of those suffering from chronic hunger are female, since women and girls in particular are neglected in terms of nutrition within the family, but also in food aid.
A central cause of hunger are again and again burgeoning wars and epidemics, from which infinite poverty grows, the dramatic reality for 72% of the population.
The focus of social life is the extended family with solidarity structures that protect the poorer sections of the population from impoverishment and hunger. These structures, which are important for survival, also lead to client and beneficiary management.
The breaking away of traditional solidarity structures can often be observed, especially in urban areas. Old people, previously cared for by their extended families, live in absolute poverty on the streets and completely on their own. Children who live wholly or partially on the street are already part of the street scene in the small towns.
Income-generating measures for women
In the UNDP Human Development Index, the Democratic Republic of the Congo ranks 176th out of 189. According to the Social Institutions & Gender Index (SIGI), gender injustice continues to be a central issue in this country’s economic, social, cultural and political development.
36.2% of men and only 10.7% of women have a school leaving certificate. The chances of development are significantly worse for girls than for boys. 76% of girls and women are victims of domestic violence.
The number of single women and mothers is increasing, especially in urban areas. The women are confronted with extremely difficult social and economic conditions.
In the context of the armed conflicts in the east of the country, sexual assaults have become part of the warfare. It is estimated that 200,000 girls and women have been raped in the past 10 years. The UN and other international organizations regularly bring the issue to the public. Unfortunately, so far only with limited success in terms of the rape rate. The victims receive support as part of the peace and trauma work, but only a small part is reached.
In public life, women are increasingly taking part in political and economic life, but only 50 women – 10.3% of the MPs – are represented as representatives in the Congolese parliament.
At the international and regional level (SADC), Congolese women’s groups take part in meetings and policy debates. Even if implementation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is difficult, international solidarity among women is important for development in the country.
Even if the laws of the country include gender equality, one is still far from a just situation. Same-sex acts are not prohibited by law in the DR Congo, but recognition of same-sex marriages is currently not conceivable in the DR Congo, a major country in African continent according to thenailmythology. LGBTs (lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender) are socially tolerated as long as the relationships are lived discreetly. Many local churches despise LGBTs and demand punishment – comparable to many other African countries. Especially in the big cities like Kinshasa, Lubumbashi and Goma, homophobia is increasing. However, a corresponding political debate has stalled for years.