Democratic Republic of Congo is a country located in Central Africa. It is sometimes referred to by its former name of Zaire, which was its official name between 1971 and 1997. DRC is bordered by nine countries. It is the second-largest country in Africa (largest in Sub-Saharan Africa) by area and 11th largest in the world. With a population of over 78 million, he DRC is the most populated officially Francophone country, the fourth-most populated nation in Africa, and the 17th most populated country in the world.
European exploration of the Congo basin was carried out under the sponsorship of King Leopold II of Belgium in the 1870s. Leopold formally acquired rights to the Congo in 1885 naming it the Congo Free State. During the Free State, the colonial military unit, the Force Publique, forced the local population to producing rubber, and from 1885 to 1908, millions of Congolese died as a consequence of exploitation and disease. 52 years after annexation by Belgium in 1908, the Belgian Congo achieved independence in 1960 under the name Republic of the Congo.
The Water Crisis in the DRC
In 1998, the Democratic Republic of Congo became part of what some people called Africa’s First World War, in a conflict between seven African nations. After the war, water became an increasingly sparse resource due to the collapse of the DRC’s infrastructure during the fighting. Although the DRC use to be one of the wettest nations in Africa, today the majority of rural Congolese do not have access to sanitary water because of the lack of infrastructure. In fact a study carried out by the IRC found that since the war, most Congolese have not died from violence, but rather from malaria, diarrhea, and malnutrition, all problems associated with the lack of water (Global Issues).
In the DRC, the state water utility does not have the ability to improve its water pumping system, because they lack the funds to undertake the project. Instead, they continue to pump water to needy areas through rusty, decaying pipes. According to the IRIN, only about 69 percent of the urban areas of the DRC receive water from the state water utility (IRIN News). This means that there are a significant amount of citizens not receiving water to their towns and villages, resulting in the locals having to find other options to satisfy their need for water. Many of the streams and ponds they are accessing are contaminated with waste, chemicals, or bacteria.
The Water Solution in the DRC
In 2013, Water4 began providing training to a local Congolese organization to provide access to safe water for the Pygmy people of the Ituri Rainforest. For more than a decade, the organization had focused on restoring human rights to the Pygmies, who have endured years of forced slavery by the region’s other people group.
Through joints efforts with the local partner organization, a negotiation was made to purchase the freedom of Pygmy people by offering both the oppressed and the oppressors what they desperately needed: safe water.
Throughout 2014 Water4 worked to train the newly renamed Ituri Drillers, to drill water wells on the land acquired for the newly freed Pygmy people numbering over 1,200. Since then, Ituri Drillers continue to work for the peace between the two people groups, while also offering living water by modeling prayer and worship as they work to provide water to the Pygmy people.
By Emilie Hechtner / Sources: Wikipedia / Category: Countries