Transitional Demobilization and Reintegration Program
In The Democratic Republic of Congo
Ex-combatatants showcase the fruit of their labor
September 2011
Adolphe Hasabindero, M&E Specialist in the Technical Coordination Team of the Burundi DDR project
An ex-combattant sells drinks and basic household
items in his shop in Kinshasa.

The Unité d’Exécution du Programme National de Désarmement, Démobilisation et Réintégration (implementing unit of the national program for DDR in Congo - UEPNDDR) is organizing from September 22 to 25 a Fair of demobilized combatants.

About 50 ex-combatants from the 11 provinces of the country will present their work and their products to the public.

Thanks to the support from the PNDDR, these ex-combatants have been able to return to civilian life and find a means to sustain themselves and their families.

 

Demobilized combatants were given several options when they chose the path to reintegrate into their former communities :

Grevisse Ditend, Director of the UEPNDDR
Grevisse Ditend, Director of the UEPNDDR

« Some children released from armed groups and who didn’t finish their education decided to go back to school », explains Professor Grevisse Ditend, the Director of the UEPNDDR. « Others wanted to be able to earn a living right away to put food on the table for their families. They received support to establish what we call ‘income generating activities’: small shops selling basic products.  Others - the majority- still preferred to learn a trade: agriculture, animal husbandry, carpentry, bakery, etc. »

The Fair in Kinshasa will present an opportunity for the various partners who participated in the project to gather before the closing of the IDA financing at the end of September.

« The PNDDR was an immense undertaking in several aspects », explains Bernard Harborne, Task Team Leader for the project at the World Bank. « US$ 250 million in financing, an initial target group of 150,000 combatants, 23 implementing partners, seven years of implementation… a project as big as the country itself! » says Harborne in jest.

Among the partners who will participate in the Fair, the International Labor Bureau, Caritas, Adekor or the Food and Agriculture Organization. All four were key implementing partners during the phase of reintegration support.

The Fair will also boast a photo and document exhibit on the PNDDR: signature of the first grant agreement with IDA in June 2004, ex-combatants working in their fields or workshops, various evaluation reports on the numerous sub-projects (notably those on the 31,000 children associated with armed forces and groups whom the PNDDR managed to release and reunify with their families).

Project partners and beneficiaries will be able to share their experiences, including what they have learned over the years of implementation.

« The fair will be a window into the current situation of demobilized combatants » adds Professor Ditend. « We want to show our country and the international partners that we accomplished a lot. We want ex-combatants to no longer be called ‘demobilized’, which refers only to their past, but be recognized as full 'producers', citizens of our country, like any other Congolese ».

Ex-combatants work in a open air steel workshop
Ex-combatants work in a open air steel workshop

In addition, the Fair will provide an opportunity to reflect on the challenges faced by the project and its successes over the years. These are important lessons to collect as they provide valuable information for other DDR efforts in the region.

The PNDDR is financed from two sources : two IDA grants of US$100 million (2004) and $50 million (2008), and a US$ 100 million grant from the Multi-Country Demobilization and Reintegration Program (MDRP). The MDRP grant closed in June 2009.

Another project, called PARSEC (Post conflict social and economic reinsertion support) is financed by the African Development Bank. The project, which will go on until June 2013, finances the country’s stabilization efforts through social and economic reintegration support to ex-combatants. The PARSEC provides collective rather than indivual support (for example by supporting professional associations of ex-combatants or farming cooperatives.)

In total, over seven years of operation, the PNDDR has disarmed and demobilized about 110,000 combatants, of which about 90,000 have received support to reintegrate socially and economically.

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For additional information on the fair, please contact Ms. Evelyne Mbata,
in charge of Communications at the UEPNDDR

 

 

 

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