Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Democratic Republic of the Congo has a long history of political problems, poverty, and armed conflicts, both during the colonial time and as an independent state. Prior to colonization, the country consisted of different kingdoms. The Europeans began exploring the country in the 1870’s.

In 1884 the Belgian king Leopold II took the country as his private possession, usurping resources through brutal utilization.  The Belgian state acquired control in 1908. In 1960 the country obtained independency and the nationalist movement, under the leadership of Patrice Lumumba, won the parliamentary elections in the wake of independency. Five years later general Joseph Mobuto seized power and named the country Zaire.  He established a repressive dictatorship associated with corruption and reduction of already weak governmentally run institutions. Mobutu was overthrown in a coup in 1997.

Laurent-Désiré Kabila became president. A year later that regime was overthrown, resulting in a civil war claiming close to 3.5 million lives. This civil war lasted until 2003, bearing the name “Second Congo War” or “African World War”. It included eight countries and 25 armed groups.

Kabila was assassinated in 2001 and was succeeded by his son Joseph Kabila. He led the transitional government following the official ending of the war in 2002-2003, and won the elections in 2006 and 2011.

Even though the war was officially over, the violence continued. In 2008 the war and its aftermath had killed 5.4 million people, most of them dying of diseases and malnutrition. This war is the conflict with the highest number of casualties since World War II.

Late reconstruction
The political challenges are huge and the politicians have to reconstruct a new state. Many of the problems of today are due to the administration and building of unilateral economic structures by the Belgian colonist, aiming to clear the country of valuable resources.  The years of dictatorship under Mobuto where resources also were brought out of the country are a contributing factor.

The country spans over huge areas of Central Africa. The main export commodities are diamonds, gold, copper, cobalt, wood products, coffee, and crude oil. 70 percent of the export earnings come from the mining industry, leaving The Democratic Republic of the Congo one of the African countries hit hardest by the financial crises in 2008.

China has increased investments in infrastructure and hospitals in exchange for favorable deals for extraction of copper and cobalt.

Corruption is a huge challenge. In parts of the country, conflicts still occur. In the eastern parts rebel groups are causing problems for both the locals and for the President. The President claims that Rwanda and Uganda are supporting these rebel groups.

The violence has to cease and human rights have to be respected all over the country before the reconstruction process will hit full effect. Clean drinking water in all areas of the country and development of the road network are crucial to its rebuilding. Other challenges are fighting corruption, the building of a stable state institution, and reconnecting international relations.

Dina in The DRC

Rarely has the world seen battles where sexual violence against women has been more prevalent than in The DRC. The Dina Foundation runs several centers of raped girls.

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The Dina Center in Bukavu

In Bukavu in The Democratic Republic of the Congo, The Dina Foundation has built a “mothers home” for raped women.

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The Dina Center in Goma

The Dina Foundation has built a center for 200 girls in Goma in the eastern part of The Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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The Dina School in Masisi

In Masisi, in the deep woods of eastern Congo, The Dina Foundation bought a whole mountain. There is a settlement of pygmies here.