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Norad Country Evaluation Brief: Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Norwegian agency for development cooperation (Norad) recently published a Country Evaluation Brief on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) prepared by a hera team of researchers including Joar Svanemyr, hera associate Marianne Eelens and hera CEO Leen Jille. The report is part of Norad’s wider effort in systematising existing evaluation findings on international assistance to Norway’s partner countries.

The brief combines findings from 25 country evaluations and reviews published since 2016 of major donor-funded programmes and projects in the DRC. The overview gives context to the current situation in DRC and assesses the impact of international development assistance. Development support constitutes about 6 per cent of the country’s economy. The scope of the 25 evaluations reviewed covers a range of issues, from health through women’s rights and gender equality to climate and forest protection.

In the DRC there are ongoing and overlapping crises, including violent conflict and instability; widespread poverty; high levels of violence against women; malnutrition and weak food security; and environmental challenges such as deforestation and forest degradation. These challenges are further compounded by the country’s rapid population growth as well as development setbacks attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, 19.6 million Congolese were in dire need of assistance and protection.

A primary finding of the review is that while substantial donor assistance has contributed to development improvements, the level of crisis in the DRC is such that despite the efforts, there are still significant funding shortages and an inadequate response to the country's most vulnerable populations. An estimated 60 million persons in the DRC live under the global poverty line of USD 1.90 per day. Gender was the most common cross-cutting issue included in the evaluations. Whilst some degree of change was observed in women’s participation and in reducing gender inequality, efforts to alter gender norms mostly had a superficial impact. Interventions in forest protection produced encouraging results in terms of sustainable forest use and community solidarity. Community-based development initiatives created real improvements in the livelihoods of forest-dependent communities.

Please check out the full report on the Norad website to learn more about this work, including links to the original 25 evaluations reviewed.

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