In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), one of the principle obstacles to delivering effective support to community-based organizations (CBOs) is the lack of precise information on organizations and their capacity to effectively meet the most pressing needs of their community.
In response, in 2011, with the support of USAID*, Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI) conducted an unprecedented landscape analysis of CBOs across Maniema, North Kivu, Orientale, and South Kivu provinces. The result is a first- time report that gives policy leaders, investors, and analysts much-needed insight into the workings and nature of work being done to create a sustainable and successful society in eastern Congo.
Through its ground-breaking Landscape Analysis of Community-Based Organizations, ECI has laid the groundwork for augmenting US foreign assistance in the eastern Congo. Serving as a model of strategic investment in the region, ECI's assessment is a resource that can shape future engagement and elevate awareness and commitment to the region within the larger development and donor community.
This research has five important findings:
- There are many CBOs in eastern DRC with effective systems and controls in place to readily absorb funding and implement projects that meet important community needs, but even the best organizations could benefit from training in administrative, project, and financial management.
- There are many capable, small CBOs that implement projects with international funding that first passed through three, four, or five agencies. These groups have a difficult time increasing their capacities to get direct access to funding, and remain stuck at the bottom of the funding chain.
- Urban areas and war zones get the most attention and assistance from funders, while rural and post- conflict regions are comparatively neglected.
- The lack of transport and communications infrastructure severely limits the work of CBOs, particularly in rural areas.
- The focus of international assistance remains on meeting urgent humanitarian needs and helping rape survivors, but the structural and cultural roots of the problems in eastern DRC-including poor governance and marginalization of women-are getting insufficient attention.
ECI envisions an eastern Congo vibrant with abundant opportunities for economic and social development, where a robust civil society can flourish. ECI believes that this first-ever landscape analysis will serve to build the capacity of CBOs through increased investment in small and medium-sized CBOs, transportation and communication infrastructures, and programs that address gender inequality, persistent conflict, and poor governance.
From this Landscape Analysis, ECI generated a series of Landscape Analysis Reports and a web-based Community-Based Organization (CBO) database.