Congo Refugees Turn To Business As Aid Dries Up

Congo Refugees Turn To Business As Aid Dries Up

From DW via AllAfrica

When humanitarian organizations in eastern DRC started reducing food provisions for able-bodied men, one man displaced by the fighting started a mobile phone charging cabin to make ends meet.

A black and red generator sends electrical power to a small white hut where a group of clients charge their mobile phones. But this is not a usual mobile charging center such as those found in urban cities. It is Mugunga 3, a camp for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) located 10 km (6.2 miles) west of Goma, the capital of North Kivu province in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

The hut’s owner is 29-year-old Theophile Niweyimana, a self-made entrepreneur. Theophile and his family left Masisi territory in 2012, when the Congolese army conducted military operations against armed militant groups. Since then, he has been living as an internally displaced person in Mugunga 3 camp.

In April 2014, due to financial constraints, humanitarian organizations decided to provide food assistance only to the most vulnerable people in the camp. These include rape victims, old people and those living with HIV.

Food aid reduced

Djaounsede Pardon, a media and communication officer with the World Food Program (WFP) in North Kivu, told DW that these financial problems were a result of other crises that erupted in the region and around the globe. He said they were now focusing more on children.

“We have more than ten primary schools in Goma benefiting from WFP’s school feeding program. And those programs are not only destined to displaced people, but every malnourished person in and around the camp.”

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