Welcome to the Democratic Republic of Congo

Click on the tiles to find out about the DR Congo, its history, people and environment, and the issues facing the country today. We haven't conducted a children's filming workshop here, so there aren't any videos. But there's lots of information for learning more about this vast country.

Health

Africa has a high number of communicable diseases, which place a huge burden on healthcare systems. The vast majority of malaria cases and HIV/AIDS-related deaths occur in Africa; these two diseases currently represent the greatest threats.

With low investment in healthcare and a severe shortage of medical staff, many countries struggle to meet the health needs of their people.

Tourism & Communications

Wildlife and adventure

Instability and lack of infrastructure limit tourism, but determined wildlife enthusiasts and adventure seekers are drawn to the DRC.

Insecurity

Instability

The eastern regions of the DR Congo have been among those hit hardest by conflict over the last two decades and with outbreaks of fighting still common, many children have been left orphaned or in need of help.

Welcome to the DR Congo

To find out about the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), click on the tiles and topics, which include a feature on the amazing animals which draw many visitors here – the gorillas. We haven't had chance to conduct a children's filming workshop, so there aren't any videos yet. But there's lots of information for learning more about the country.

Climate

Africa is a massive continent, with a range of climates. Some regions are hot and dry, like the Sahara, Kalahari and Namib deserts. Other parts are wet or covered in tropical rainforest. Conditions also vary by altitude, from the dry salt pans of the Danakil Depression (one of the lowest points on earth) to the snowcaps (at certain times) of the highest mountains. Weather-wise, Africa has it all!

Agriculture & Famine

A quarter of the population of sub-Saharan Africa is undernourished and famines can impact whole regions.

Land is available to grow more food locally, but investment is needed in  technologies such as irrigation for land to be used effectively. Farmers must also adapt to climate change if they are to feed the continent's rising population.

Mining

The mining state

Most of the DR Congo’s revenues come from the mining sector, which is particularly important in the southeastern Kitanga region of the country.

Children's stories

Filming workshops

SOS Children's Villages have been running filming workshops to show children how to make their own films. This country has yet to be visited, but take a look at some videos made by children in nearby countries.

DR Congo Map

Explore DR Congo

Click the map points and find out more about some of the country's key towns, rivers and wildlife areas, many of which have National Park status.

Geography & Wildlife

With its varied geography and diverse habits, the African continent is home to a wide range of flora and fauna. Though famous for its 'big game' animals, Africa has huge numbers of fish, mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian and insect species, as well as many tree, plant and flower species.

Development

‘People are the real wealth of a nation.’ This is the belief of the United Nations, whose Millenium Development Goals provide a framework for improving the lives of millions.

It helps when nations are peaceful, stable and growing economically. But where even the poorest countries focus on health, education and creating fairer societies, more Africans have the chance of a better life.

History & Politics

Difficult history

Following a long period of harsh colonial rule and decades of fighting and misrule, the DR Congo is striving to become a stable and more prosperous nation.

Climate & Agriculture

Interrupted harvests

With plenty of land and regular rains, stability is now needed for farmers to grow enough food to meet demand in the DR Congo.

Malaria

Threat of malaria

With its many lakes and areas of stagnant water where mosquitoes can breed, malaria is endemic in the DR Congo and the country struggles to battle this cruel disease.

Facts & Figures

A very large country

Covering 2.34 million square kilometres in the centre of the continent, the Democratic Republic of Congo is the second largest country in Africa and the 12th largest in the world.

Gorillas

Gorilla watching

Most tourists to the DR Congo come to see the country’s incredible wildlife, particularly its eastern gorillas.

Poverty & Healthcare

Low life expectancy

Poorly staffed and equipped health facilities struggle to cope with the high number of people affected by diseases and malnutrition. Life expectancy in the DR Congo is just 49 years.

Games & Sport

Africa is home to arguably the oldest-recorded games and sports. While some are only known through archaeology, modern-day games and sports such as Mancala/Mankala and Nubian wrestling are very much alive today.

Of course, new sports have come along to claim the attention of Africans. You may have heard of one - it's called football.

Deforestation

Forest Threats

For decades, the rainforests of the DR Congo have been protected through lack of access and instability, but as the country opens up, the forests will face the same threats as elsewhere in Africa.

People & Culture

Exporting its music

The DR Congo is known for its rumba-style dance music, which developed from the jazz bands of the 1940s and 50s and is now enjoyed across the world.

Economy & Industry

Huge potential

The DRC has large mineral reserves, but the country’s natural wealth will only be of true benefit when there is peace, stability and good management of resources.

Education & Jobs

Getting to school

Widespread poverty and a general lack of schools and teachers means only around two-thirds of children in the DR Congo attend primary school.

Insects

Insects galore

The rainforests of the Congo region have a vast number of insect and invertebrate species, too many to calculate with accuracy, but there are definitely well over 1,000 species of butterfly and moth.

Foods

Africa has some of the most distinctive cuisines and flavours in the world. Food varies widely, but there are commonalities across regions. Depending on what's grown locally, dishes are also influenced by the traders, immigrants and rulers who settled across the continent. Arab, Asian and European elements blend in with traditional African cooking.

Food & Daily life

Legacy of conflict

Stability is returning to much of the DR Congo, but widespread poverty and a leftover culture of violence continue to affect daily life for many people.

Geography & Wildlife

Natural wealth

With over 400 species of mammals and more than 1,130 species of bird, the forest, swamp, grassland and mountain habitats of the DR Congo are a treasure-trove for nature lovers.

Women

A woman’s status varies by country and region across Africa. In many parts, women struggle against inequality in laws, education, pay and domestic responsibilities.

Women’s health is also at risk from traditional practices such as early marriage. But with better education, girls can make more informed choices, leading to the greater development of African nations.

History

The first humans are thought to have lived in Africa and powerful African empires formed from the medieval age onwards.

However, today's African nations were shaped by the European powers who colonised this vast continent. Having gained their independence, many African countries are still coming to terms with the legacy left by their colonisers.

Poverty

Across the rest of the world, absolute poverty has halved over recent decades, but in Africa it has barely fallen.

About two-fifths of the population of sub-Saharan Africa survive week by week on what someone in the UK earns from just one hour's work on the minimum wage.

Children

Around one in six children born in sub-Saharan Africa don't live to see their fifth birthday and life can be tough for those who do.

What are the common challenges facing African children and how do their lives compare with those of children in the UK?

DR Congo topics Facts & Figures Poverty & Healthcare Food & Daily life Malaria People & Culture Geography & Wildlife Climate & Agriculture Insects Deforestation Welcome to the DR Congo Gorillas Economy & Industry Mining Education & Jobs Children's stories History & Politics Insecurity DR Congo Map Tourism & Communications