Conflict dynamics in the Great Lakes region - consisting of Rwanda, Burundi, the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Uganda - have shifted from regional instability to essentially internal political crises, revolving around electoral issues and questions of legitimacy. The ongoing crisis in Burundi has led to some cross-border tension with Rwanda, also in the economic field. The postponement of elections in DRC has created considerable uncertainty and increased tensions, negatively affecting some existing local conflicts and triggering violence in previously stable areas, e.g. the Kasai region. Up to now, the DRC crisis has not negatively affected bilateral relations between Rwanda and DRC. The two countries signed a number of bilateral co-operation agreements in 2016. In general, the Great Lakes regional programme was not affected by the instability in the region. The cross-border projects concerning Lake Kivu and the Greater Virunga landscape have led to enhanced regional collaboration and have helped to normalise bilateral relations.

Featured project

Mawe Tatu project in Region the Great Lakes

The programme has achieved various significant results, such as a decrease in gender-based violence at the family level, improved relationships between men and women, and increased participation of women in household decision making. An example of these results is presented in the video attached. It shows how the rights of pygmy women are promoted and protected through civil marriage. Within the pygmy community in Eastern DRC, registration of weddings is highly valued. It empowers the women, as they gain respect from the community and from their husbands. This video was produced under the Mawe Tatu project, implemented by Care in Eastern DRC.

Key results of the embassy in Great Lakes region

Security & Rule of Law

Indicator Score Progress

Number of people involved in communal dialogue facilitated by NL-funded projects in eastern DRC

1,465 Progress, not on track
Number of people involved in communal dialogue
Interpretation of the Embassy results in the context

The security situation in DRC has not improved. The Cispe project is working on strengthening stakeholders with regard to security and the functioning of security services. For example, It has facilitated local "Comités de Securité" (CdS) and the involvement of communities in these. Also, the first Results Based Financing contracts have been signed with the security and administrative authorities. The project is behind schedule and better results will be achieved in 2017 and especially 2018.

Number of media outlets that promote inclusive dialogue on regional conflict drivers

53 On track
33 media outlets / 20 freelance journalists
Interpretation of the Embassy results in the context

The inclusive dialogue on regional conflict drivers addresses the root causes of ethnic-based conflicts. These sessions and the organisation of cross-border dialogues in three countries (DRC, Rwanda and Burundi) are an important part of the Regional Programme to limit ethnic-based conflicts. The present crisis in Burundi is hindering the implementation of this strategy. In order to cope with this situation, some activities have been shifted to DRC and Rwanda, including Burundian participants.

Number of regional agreements reached supported by NL-funded projects

5 (since 2013) On track
5 (since 2013)
Interpretation of the Embassy results in the context

The Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration (GVTC), a transborder national park initiative, made progress on regional collaboration, which is a sign of better relations, notably between DRC and Rwanda. The monitoring of security issues in and around the park by GVTC is relevant and appreciated by the three national park authorities. The Lake Kivu Monitoring Project (LKMP) is developing joint management principles for Lake Kivu and has initiated joint research projects. The LKMP has therefore been successful in building trust between DRC and Rwanda. The status of the LKMP as a regulatory authority remains a challenge both within Rwandan and Congolese institutional settings. Negotions on the Memorandum of Understanding between Uganda and the DRC about Lake Edward are currently on the agenda.

Number of (transboundary and regional) dialogues facilitated by NL-funded projects

86 On track
86 Transboundary and regional dialogues (GVTC: 3, LKMP: 2, M4D: 81)
Interpretation of the Embassy results in the context

Regional dialogues offer a platform on which local leaders and the populations of the three countries can meet and discuss regional issues, such as refugee acceptance and stereotypes. These platforms (facilitated by the Media for Dialogue project) provide an opportunity for local leaders, who could not otherwise have met, to discuss regional issues affecting the population in the border areas of Rwanda, Burundi and DRC. On a higher level, transboundary dialogues and activities organised by GVTC and LKMP provide a platform for cross-border collaboration and joint activities between Rwanda and Congo, with regard to the management of the Greater Virunga landscape and the management of Lake Kivu and its resources (gas).

Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

Indicator Score Progress

Number of programmes involving men in the fight against violence against women and girls

3 On track
Interpretation of the Embassy results in the context

SRHR projects implemented in Eastern DRC have contributed to an approximately 30% decrease in gender-based violence in priority areas since 2013. Various activities, including sexuality education, therapeutic sessions and dialogues concerning SRHR topics, have contributed to raising awareness within communities. This has also led to an increase in the use of SRHR commodities. Despite tensions in Eastern DRC, programmes involving men, youths and women have been successfully implemented.

Community members and community leaders participating in SRHR awareness-raising activities at community level

9,524 On track
Interpretation of the Embassy results in the context

At the community level, the participation of local leaders, including church leaders, has increased. The police and military leaders involved in the Living Peace Project, which addresses domestic violence in eastern Congo, have subsequently attended and facilitated SRHR activities in their communities

Background & future

Interpretation of the results in context

Regional collaboration has resulted in progress being made in the projects around Lake Kivu, Virunga and the media programme. This shows that, although tensions in DRC and Burundi are rising, regional co-operation has not been negatively affected, especially between DRC and Rwanda. The projects in the thematic areas of water and food security for the Great Lakes programme have been delayed. The projects have started in december 2016 and May 2017 respectively. The projects in the field of SRHR mainly focus on positive masculinity, sexuality education, use of SRHR commodities and a holistic response to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). These activities are showing results and contributing to female empowerment, the reduction of SGBV and the increase of citizen and leader involvement. Activities relating to the functioning of security services and the involvement of communities have started to show some results, but not yet as anticipated. It is expected that results will improve in 2017.

Glimpse into the future

All projects under the present Multi Annual Strategic Plan (MASP) will have started by mid-2017. The emphasis will be on monitoring activities in the field, to ensure that the expected results are achieved. Special attention will be paid to new projects implemented under the themes of food security, water and rule of law. A peer-monitoring strategy has been put in place to enhance monitoring and learning between projects in the thematic areas of food security and water. Collaboration with regional organisations, like the Greater Virunga Transboundary Co-operation (GVTC) and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), will be redefined in the context of the new MASP. The sustainability of the GVTC depends on its ownership by the three member states. It will be assessed whether the ICGLR can play a role in a possible minerals component in the Great Lakes regional programme. The International Security and Stabilisation Support Strategy (I4S) will continue to fulfil a binding and harmonising role for the international actors in eastern DRC. Dutch efforts will continue to facilitate alignment to I4S and enhance the monitoring and evaluation of I4S-aligned activities to monitor joint impact. At the same time, the embassy and Monusco are discussing ways to better apply the alignment criteria without losing the conflict sensitivity of activities. Regional collaboration between countries and regional organisations requires continued close co-operation between the four Dutch embassies in the Great Lakes region. The present co-operation structure of the embassies' joint management team will be further strengthened.

Financial summary

Total expenditure Embassy € 12,114,179

Expenditure 2016 per theme

Expenditure 2016 per channel