We’re delivering cash to people who need it most, even in complex environments.

Since 2018, GiveDirectly has delivered $14M in unconditional cash transfers to families living in some of the poorest regions of Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). We’ve delivered cash to 75,000+ vulnerable households in Ituri, North Kivu, South Kivu, and the Province of Kinshasa through programs aimed at increasing food security, nutrition, and resilience.

75,000+
households reached
4 of 26
provinces reached
$14M+
delivered all-time

Our Partners

Interested in partnering on our work in DRC? Get in touch.

We’re giving cash to support at-risk and hard-to-reach communities.

Our cash programs have primarily reached families in eastern DRC, where thousands have been forced to flee conflict between the Congolese military and armed groups. Displaced families need cash more than ever as they lose access to housing, education, their livelihoods and community resources, putting them in a precarious position.

ACTIVE Programs
Zizine and her youngest child, Shukuru in North Kivu

Cash for Nutrition

Launched in 2022, this program delivers unconditional cash over 3 years to enable vulnerable families in South Kivu to address food insecurity, malnutrition, and other immediate needs.

Households Reached

5,191

Partners

Power of Nutrition, SIDA

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PAST Programs
Augustine in Kinshasa

COVID-19 Emergency Relief Pilot

2021 program that leveraged cell-phone usage data to remotely provide pandemic relief payments to families living in Kinshasa.

Transfer Size

$25 monthly transfers for 6 months

Recipients Reached

50,000

Outcomes

These payments provided a safety net for recipients and their families during acute stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in the poorest communes in Kinshasa.

Recipients reported spending on food, health care and other basic needs. This project was realized in close collaboration with the DRC Social Fund, which coordinates government social protection benefits.

Partners

World Bank, Fonds Social, Viamo, Vodacom

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Kayengo at her pharmacy

Contactless COVID-19 Response

Launched during the COVID-19 pandemic to remotely provide unconditional cash to vulnerable people in Goma, Beni, and Bunia. Recipients were identified on social registry lists by the DRC Social Fund.

Transfer Size

$40 per month for 4 months

Recipients Reached

8,000

Outcomes

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we pivoted from an in-person enrollment model focused on rural poverty alleviation to a fully remote emergency relief program focused on urban families impacted by the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Most recipients reported using their transfers to purchase food: after receiving 4 months of payments, there was a 50% decrease in recipient-reported food insecurity. By sending cash via mobile money, the program was able to reach vulnerable communities in the context of a pandemic.

Partners

Fonds Social, World Bank

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Kabika in Walungu

Cash+ Youth Benchmarking

2018 program that studied the relative impact of large cash transfers in rural and urban communities on young adults between 18-25 years old.

Transfer Size

$500-$1,000— different transfer sizes were compared to measure impact per dollar

Recipients Reached

6,000

Outcomes

Youth living in urban areas reported spending their transfers differently than those in rural areas when surveyed by our staff. These variations reflect distinct market and infrastructure needs in each context. 

Recipients living in urban areas predominantly spent their transfers to start or invest in businesses. Mean recipients in rural areas reported more diverse spending: 

  • 42% bought livestock or agricultural inputs, like animal feed and fertilizer
  • 56% started or invested in an existing business,
  • 38% built or improved their house
  • 17% bought food

Read more→

Partners

USAID, Catholic Relief Services, Education Development Center, University of California, Berkeley

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Congolese families are using cash to transform their lives.

South Kivu

Rebeka started a business selling cassava flour

“In the past I ate only once a day, at night time. After receiving transfers I manage to eat more than 3 times a day. I also started a small business selling cassava flour.”

South Kivu

Jusi and Papa replaced their leaking roof

“When it rained, it felt as though we were outdoors in the house because our old roof would let in the rain. My husband and I decided to use part of our transfer to buy 20 metal sheets to replace our roof. I also started selling cassava, which has earned me respect from my neighbors.”— Jusi

Kinshasa

Mushiya bought essentials and invested in her business

“I was unemployed but from the money (GiveDirectly and Fonds Social) started sending us, I am now able to support my children with soap, bread and even clothes. If it wasn’t for (the program), I don’t know if I would (have been able to keep my store open).”

Poverty in DRC

102M
population in DRC
62%
live on less than $2.15/day
27M+
acutely food insecure
6.3M
internally displaced people

DRC is one of the five poorest nations in the world despite its abundance of natural resources, arable land, and potential for hydroelectric power. As of 2022, roughly 60M people (62% of the population) lived on less than $2.15 per day. Decades of conflict and instability have created a persistent humanitarian crisis, with millions of people forcibly displaced from their home communities. Nearly 1 in 6 people in extreme poverty in sub-saharan Africa live in DRC.

DRC ranked 164th out of 174 countries in the World Bank’s 2020 Human Capital Index (HCI) with a score of 0.38, below average for countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. This ranking is driven by factors like low survival rates of children under 5 years old, high rates of stunting and chronic malnutrition, and poor access to quality education. DRC is facing one of the largest hunger crises in the world, with over 35% of the population undernourished.

Sources: World Bank, UNHCR, IPC, FAO

102M
population in DRC
62%
live on less than $2.15/day
27M+
acutely food insecure
6.3M
internally displaced people

Life & Culture in DRC

Fashion & Style

Kinshasa is home to one of the continent’s best-known fashion communities, the Society of Ambience-Makers and Elegant People (Sape), or “Les Sapeurs.” Les Sapeurs are known for dressing in designer suits and other stylish and fashion-forward clothes. 

Music

People in DRC love music! Congolese music has become a global phenomenon with artists like Bakolo Music International celebrated for their brilliant rhythms. Congolese rumba has been added to Unesco’s heritage list as a global treasure.

Language

DRC is the third most populous country in Africa and has the second largest land area (2344860 sq.km) after Algeria. 210 indigenous languages are spoken in DRC, as well as 5 non-indigenous languages. 

Geography & Wildlife

DRC is the second largest tropical forested country in the world and is home to 47% of tropical rainforests in Africa. This forest acts as lungs for the world and plays a key role in balancing the global climate. It also hosts some amazing biodiversity and wildlife, such as the eastern lowland gorilla.

Facts and highlights shared by GiveDirectly staff in DRC.