Global: UN Fund Launches Urgent Funding Appeal, Support Women at the Forefront of DRC’s Escalating Humanitarian Crisis

15 December 2022

(Geneva) – The United Nations Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund (WPHF) announced the launch of its latest emergency funding appeal to mobilize new financing for local women’s organizations responding to the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s intensifying humanitarian crisis.

A worrying resurgence of political violence and armed conflict since October 2022 has plagued the communities of Eastern Congo, contributing to significant human suffering and the displacement of more than 390,000 people – of which over 200,000 are women and girls. Deep-seated conflict and displacement has continued to exacerbate food insecurity across the country, with estimates of approximately 26.4 million people expected to face acute food insecurity through December 2022, making DRC one of the world’s most complex and multidimensional humanitarian challenges.

“As WPHF has seen from its work in fragile settings across the globe, the converging effects of crises in the DRC are dramatically and disproportionately impacting women and girls,” said Ghita El Khyari, Head of the WPHF Secretariat. It is essential that women’s organizations in the DRC are adequately financed to fulfil their roles as effective humanitarian actors.

Women in DRC are increasingly dispossessed of their property, deprived of their means of subsistence, plunged into economic and psychological vulnerability, and exposed to exploitation and abuse. The recurrence of conflicts and armed attacks in the DRC in which systematic rape is often used as a tactic of war have deep and lasting consequences on communities, particularly on women and girls. There is a pressing need to ensure that such crimes are reported, that perpetrators are held to account, that women and girls are provided with adequate protection and that their voices continue to be heard.

It is critical that local women’s rights organizations in the DRC are supported and play key roles in decision-making related to humanitarian response to ensure gender-inclusive and sustainable responses to the country’s ever urgent needs.

“We have managed to provide support to over 250 women survivors of sexual violence to become actors of peace and change in their communities.” said Nelly Mbangu, a WPHF partner and civil society activist in the DRC.“Women are more affected in times of crisis, but they are also more actively engaged. This is why we are asking donors to provide considerable support to the work carried out by women’s organizations.”

The WPHF emergency funding appeal for the DRC will mobilize up to USD 9 million to support local women’s organizations working across two priority impact areas: Strengthening women’s participation and leadership in planning and responding to humanitarian crises, including food insecurity; and Protecting women and girls affected by sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).

The first phase of WPHF’s emergency response in the DRC will rapidly channel funding to pre-identified local women-led CSOs on the ground, followed by an open Call for Proposals under the WPHF Regular Funding Cycle to support women’s organizations responding to the crisis and the particular needs of Congolese women and girls.

The Call for Proposals will make available financing for civil society organizations that build the resilience of Congolese women and girls through programmatic funding from 30,000 USD to 200,000 USD, and institutional funding to help sustain and strengthen women’s organizations throughout the crisis with grants from 2,500 USD to 30,000 USD.