For years, the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo has been shaken by armed conflicts over land and raw materials. The population suffers from the ongoing cruel violence. DIFÄM, together with its Christian partner institutions in the region, is committed to providing sustainable health care throughout the country. The construction and equipment of health facilities, the development of health insurance, the training of local professionals and the education of young people are all key aspects of this work.
In Eastern Congo particularly, countless militias and soldiers are fighting for control of the region and its natural resources, terrifying the population: coltan, cobalt and gold are required for the production of mobile phones, rechargeable batteries, computers and electric cars. But they are mostly mined under inhumane conditions, and illegal trade in them often finances the weapons of the warmongers.
Women and children in particular suffer from the ongoing violence: rebels and militias attack communities and loot and destroy villages. They demoralise and intimidate the population with extreme sexualised violence - without fear of legal consequences. Women and girls suffer from the countless, systematic rapes. Out of fear, many women no longer dare to go to their fields, which remain uncultivated. They can no longer provide for their families. Malnutrition or undernourishment affects children in particular. Many people have no access to health care, as health facilities are often destroyed or poorly equipped. Many are difficult to reach and cannot be supplied regularly with medicines and consumables. People are traumatised and many are fleeing the violence. About five million IDPs have been displaced from their villages, towns and home regions.
Church based work for peace and health
In the midst of this hardship, churches play an important role: where the state is often no longer functioning, churches provide many health facilities and educational institutions and work for reconciliation and reconstruction. Difäm is committed to building locally functioning health systems. We support the construction and equipment of health facilities, the development of health insurance and the training of local professionals such as midwives and doctors as well as the education of young people. Emergency medical aid and medical care for refugees also play a major role. In this, we work together with the Network of Evangelical Churches in Congo (ECC) and its member churches and also support the work for health and human rights of Nobel Prize winner Dr Denis Mukwege at Panzi Hospital and the Evangelical University in Bukavu (UEA).