The DRC, formerly (Belgian) Congo/Zaire is perhaps one of the richest countries in the world in terms of natural resources. But the vast majority of its 67 million people are some of the most impoverished in the world. Life expectancy is around 49 years. The tragedy is that this wealth has too often brought misery and exploitation to the people. This applies particularly to the eastern part of DRC where different actors, domestic and foreign, are involved in the plunder of the country’s resources and a ‘war economy’ underpins society and politics. Instability, insecurity and periods of civil war have left infrastructure broken. A predatory state and self-serving public officials not only fail to protect the people, but actively persecute and abuse them. In many places, only international NGOs and relief organizations have the capacity to deliver humanitarian services – from providing clean drinking water and basic medical care to education and farming support. The causes of DRC’s eastern conflict are multi-dimensional and structural. There is no quick fix solution. But there are ways to resolve these complex issues through peaceful and democratic means. There always are. And there’s always creativity, music, friendship and goodwill.
Our project will touch on many of these issues, taking a critical view and a creative approach to their exploration.