USAID to fund $20 Million for a four-year Livelihoods Project in the Kivus and Orientale provinces in Eastern Congo

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In response to a number of calls from various advocacy groups, USAID recently announced a $20 million livelihoods project in eastern Congo inviting proposals for a four-year program in the Kivus and Orientale provinces, focused on people affected by sexual violence and the conflict minerals trade. The project is basically aimed at reaching at least 80,000 people in these provinces. In order to address the problems faced by grassroots communities in these areas that have been very much affected by the violence in eastern Congo, Enough Project has played a major role in convincing USAID for this initiative.

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In eastern Congo’s mining communities are more and more taking up to legitimate business and abandoning the conflict minerals trade, people will need targeted assistance to help them find meaningful sources of livelihood and cope with the ongoing challenges of living in an area long plagued by conflict. It is expected that that part of this project can target these vulnerable communities in particular. This program must also be carried out in a transparent and grassroots-oriented manner, so that grassroots communities indeed receive direct, tangible benefits from the projects funded by USAID.

As per the request for proposals the Community Recovery and Livelihoods Project (CRLP) is aimed at promoting stable socio-economic recovery in targeted communities in eastern DRC, especially in areas where SGBV [sexual and gender-based violence] and gender inequalities are considered as major challenges to stability and reconciliation. USAID is seeking the applicants to address relevant factors such as the communities’ experience with conflict and particularly Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), as well as their proximity to illicit mining activities.

Focus areas of funding:

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–     Livelihoods work through support to agriculture, market access, alternative livelihoods, and gender role dialogues.

–     Civil society support through aid to civil society in capacity building, advocacy support, and women’s participation.

–     Community conflict resolution through infrastructure construction, women’s participation, and community conflict management structure support.

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Request for applications also acknowledges that in order to consolidate recovery gains, both the more productive and entrepreneurial as well as the more marginalized and vulnerable members of society must be included. USAID intends for the project to work along this spectrum, ensuring the inclusion of victims of violence, particularly women and girls.

The initiative is encouraging development besides the efforts to reform the trade in minerals so that the revenue will benefit local communities. The request is posted on website, and applications are due on September 15.