Driven apart: How repeated displacement changes family dynamics in eastern DRC

This is the second in a series of thematic papers that contribute to a project undertaken by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, International Alert and Climate Interactive to increase the resilience of people who have been repeatedly displaced in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The project aims to improve understanding and establish an evidence base on how multiple displacement impacts the resilience of those affected, in order to improve humanitarian responses to the phenomenon.

Millions of people have been forced to flee their homes in DRC since the 1990s, both within and across its borders. As of 30 September 2015, the country was home to at least 1,662,500 internally displaced people (IDPs), 1,066,800 of them in the eastern provinces of North and South Kivu. Armed violence in eastern DRC has decreased over time from the regional wars of 1996 to 2003 to the transition to democratic rule in 2006 and since, but it remains widespread – the result of weak governance and the presence of various domestic and foreign armed groups with evolving agendas and criminal motives.

The results of the project’s first year of research show that repeated displacement has an impact on family composition, relationships and roles. This second thematic paper looks in more detail at how the phenomenon affects the dynamics within displaced families and their ability to cope with the consequences. The analysis is based on data collected in the territories of Masisi in North Kivu and Fizi in South Kivu in March 2015.

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IDPs’ decision-making in the DRC: Defining a framework to support resilience in humanitarian responses to multiple displacement