Highlighted results

Formal Institutions (Congolese police and army in eastern DRC) strengthened to respond to the needs and rights of the community.

One-stop centres established to provide a broad range of care (medical, legal, psychological economic reintegration support) to victims of sexual and gender-based violence.

Increased gender equality in household decision-making.

Innovative approach to identify land users through participatory cartography developed and adopted by the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo as the basis for issuing grouped land titles


Dutch programmes in the region contribute to the objective of promoting stability by addressing the most prominent drivers (root causes) of conflict:

Political – lack of security, rule of law and inclusive processes, corruption and impunity. Economic – poverty and population pressure, unemployment, unequal distribution of natural resources. Social – ethnic and political mistrust, displacement, migration and population movement, gender inequality. Environmental – land degradation and climate change.

Results 2018

The Netherlands is working to enhance stability and improve security in the region. Security is improved in eastern DRC by enhancing the collaboration between security actors and communities, resulting in the development of security plans that are endorsed by the government. These provide input for the development of new programmes and for the further involvement and engagement of the relevant political players.

Cross-border programmes result in the removal of obstacles to a better understanding among beneficiaries of the way in which cross-border ethnic identities are manipulated, resulting in conflict.

Under the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights programmes, victims of gender-based violence receive better care and support through one-stop centres, which provide medical, psycho-social and legal support. Violent men from the police and military, and ex-combatants receive therapy that results in a reduction of violence in the community. This programme is considered successful by the police and is included in its school curriculum.

Regarding food and nutrition security, the success in securing land titles is a potential example of how to provide land security for larger groups of farmers.

Results by theme

Security and Rule of Law Sexual and reproductive health and rights Water Food security

Security and Rule of Law

The results in context

Security plans at local level offer concrete activities to enhance security at local level and provide input for political engagement. All stakeholders and the central government (Ministry of Interior) have validated the security plans. These mention, for example, issues relating to harassment by the police and military, and the support of armed groups by leaders. The validation of these issues by authorities provides space for political dialogue and advocacy campaigns (CISPE, Consortium for Integrated Stabilisation and Peace of Eastern DRC).

The implementation of the I4S Trust Fund in support of the MONUSCO project’s Stabilisation Support Unit (SSU) has resulted in political engagement at local and national level, leading to the forthcoming peace deal with the FRPI (armed group in Ituri province).

Through the Media for Dialogue project (M4D), 21 communities received support in understanding the triggers to violence and in learning to recognise and resist such urges. Cross-border debates (involving youth, traders and women) with leaders stimulated open discussions.

In addition, 50 journalists from DRC, Rwanda and Burundi continued to monitor, collect and analyse hate speech and developed messages to counteract them.

Sexual and reproductive health and rights

The results in context

Interventions with the police, military and ex-combatants that have been violent resulted in 3,630 men taking part in specific therapeutic sessions. These interventions resulted in a change in behaviour that was recognised and supported by the men’s superiors, resulting in the inclusion of this approach in the police school curriculum. Reports show that a substantial number of participants did not revert to their former behaviour following therapy.

Village savings and loan associations (338) have been established to provide economic opportunities for women. This has resulted in the creation of small income-generating activities. Many women are now self-reliant and empowered both in their families and communities (Mawe Tatu project).

Through the Commodities-Chain-Care project, healthcare providers were equipped with skills to respond to gender-based violence in an integrated way (including legal, medical, psychological and economic reintegration support) through the creation of one-stop centres. In addition, 157 health facilities in the rural areas of eastern DRC received rape kits (first aid kits for victims of SGBV) and contraceptives.


The results in context

The Lake Kivu Monitoring Project (LKMP) has led to greater understanding of the water ecosystem and gas reserves. The sometimes difficult discussions between the two countries involved (Rwanda and DRC) is facilitated by the shared interest in the gas resources. The two countries are now preparing the joint formulation of Management Prescriptions (industry operating rules relating to the exploitation of gas). This is a crucial step in ensuring safe and environmentally friendly exploitation. They also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the joint exploitation of gas to be converted into 200 Mw of electricity.

The Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration facilitated the formalisation of two regional policies on the harmonisation of laws and regulations, and combating wildlife crime. The three member states (Rwanda, Uganda and DRC) committed to fully finance the office and personnel costs. This support is essential to further strengthen the collaboration between the three countries in protecting the Virunga landscape.

Food security

The results in context

Two projects are developing their strategies for access to land and value chain development: Food security and inclusive Access to Resources for conflict-sensitive Market development (FARM) and Maji ya Amani.

The selection of value chains only reached the initial stages in this reporting period. Support to the production side of value chains has started and has benefited 1,500 farmers in North Kivu.

Land is one of the major causes of conflict in the region and since the rehabilitation of the irrigation scheme could spark the interest of the elite in taking over the land, securing land tenure is a precondition to starting work on the irrigation scheme. Maji ya Amani has implemented participatory cartography that forms the basis for land titling. At the time of writing, all levels of government are involved in securing the land and the first grouped title deeds have been issued.

The organisation of a conference on land tenure has drawn the attention and strong political support of the central government, and the Ministry of Land Tenure is now co-organiser. The content of the conference has been agreed and will consist of all problem areas, including sensitive issues such as land grabbing. This strong commitment by the government opens the door to political engagement on this highly sensitive issue.

UN Photo Sylvain Liechti

Background and future Great Lakes Region


A number of projects have been successful in creating collaboration between security forces, other parts of government and communities to increase security. These projects are implemented by consortia consisting of UN and international NGOs, both bilaterally funded through the trust fund for the implementation of the International Security and Stability Support Strategy (I4S).

The security situation in eastern DRC and the Ebola outbreak had a negative impact on the results and implementation had to be postponed on different occasions.

The complexity of the region has resulted in most projects undertaking many studies before implementing activities. The lesson is to find a balance between adequate and comprehensive analysis in advance and to learn by doing in a complex and conflict-sensitive environment like the DRC.

The political dimension of the Great Lakes programme will be strengthened to ensure that results have a lasting effect. Many of the projects’ results need support and engagement at top political and institutional level to increase their effectiveness and sustainability.

Glimpse into the future

In 2019, the Netherlands will commence with more politically oriented initiatives relating to the Great Lakes region. Based on lessons learned, more emphasis will be placed on strengthening the political dialogue on conflict-related issues between the relevant political players. In particular, the link between development projects and the political context in which they operate will be strengthened.

In addition, emphasis will be placed on supporting local communities in dealing with conflicts and improving the conflict-sensitivity skills of the partners implementing the Dutch programmes. Stability and security will remain the key thematic areas for the Great Lakes programme. New programmes in the area of conflict minerals and secure access to land will be developed.

Expenditure by channel


Expenditure by theme