Democracy, Human Rights and Governance Fact Sheet


The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is entering a critical period in its democratic transition, which began in 2006 with a new constitution. The 2011 elections were fraught with charges of fraud, and the upcoming elections face numerous political and logistical hurdles. Poor governance is deeply rooted in nearly every sector and at all levels of society. The World Bank’s indicators for government effectiveness and control of corruption in the DRC declined between 2008 and 2014, suggesting that corruption is getting worse. Corruption has a devastating impact on the Congolese government’s ability to manage the country’s vast wealth and deliver basic social services to its citizens. The justice sector repeatedly fails to bring recourse to citizens, partly due to internal weaknesses and lack of resources.

Increased transparency and accountability of government in the DRC are a priority for USAID/DRC’s 2015-2019 Country Development Cooperation Strategy. All USAID sector activities promote participation, inclusion, transparency, and accountability in national and local institutions to support the long-term transition in the DRC to more effective and empowering development. Results achieved through USAID will not be sustainable unless Congolese actors, both within and outside the government, take ownership of reform processes and govern better.


Current Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance assistance helps ensure that elections are free, fair, and credible, and that citizens have improved access to information so that they may participate fully in the democratic process and make more informed decisions. USAID provides technical assistance and training to political parties so that they are able to better represent and respond to citizens’ concerns, improve internal and campaign management, and include women and youth in decision-making. USAID enables select Congolese civic groups to educate citizens about the rights and roles of voters in a peaceful and inclusive electoral process in order to increase citizen participation in advocacy and politics. USAID works directly with the local Episicopal Commission for Justice and Peace to train election observers, and provides technical assistance to the Commission Electorale Nationale Indépendante, the independent entity responsible for scheduling and organizing elections. USAID strengthens the capacity of national-level justice actors, the courts, and civil society organizations to conduct legal education, provide legal services, and monitor and respond to human rights violations, including electoral disputes. Finally, USAID increases Congolese citizens’ access to information by improving the quality and management of media through training media professionals, assisting media outlets, and strengthening legal protections for journalists.

USAID is designing new activities to help the DRC government and Congolese people revise the voter roll; establish and implement laws, policies, and procedures to improve the political decentralization process; and increase the capability of provincial and local governments, and civil society, to improve the delivery of public services.

SELECT FY 2015 Accomplishments

USAID-targeted community radio stations increased their monthly revenue by 10 percent through their membership in a new national radio “fair advertising” arrangement that provides community radio stations with regular advertising revenues from large national and provincial brands. The success of this innovative network provides compelling evidence of the appetite among advertisers to work with smaller scale community radios to communicate their messages.

USAID-funded workshops assembled representatives from civil society and the national media regulatory body to revise the Media Act and finalize drafting of a new law on access to information.  The Access to Public Information Law was approved by the Senate in October and will soon undergo review by the National Assembly. Once adopted, these two laws will represent major advances for a more open information environment in the DRC, facilitating better informed civil society oversight of service delivery.

USAID provided a direct award to a local organization which developed customized elections observation manuals and trained 102 long-term observers on international standards for democratic elections, technical data collection, and using new digital technologies to enhance the quality, reliability, and credibility of its observation reports so that key stakeholders can quickly respond to irregularities or disruptions in the electoral process.

USAID helped six political parties develop policies that are more responsive to Congolese citizens, reform internal management processes, and expand the roles of women and youth within party structures. USAID sponsored youth training forums for 570 political party representatives and civil society youth leaders to adopt a priority agenda which they have championed in their respective organizations. To raise awareness of key election-related laws and regulations, USAID trained 40 master trainers, including 12 women, who organized inter-party workshops for 329 members on elections-related topics, including the legal framework for elections, decentralization and its impact on elections, and resource mobilization.

USAID continued to hold civic education sessions in Kinshasa and in the provinces. A total of 36 citizen forums were organized in the last quarter, 9 in ex-Katanga, 8 in ex-Kasai Oriental, 7 in South Kivu and 12 in Kinshasa, sensitizing 5,536 participants on the electoral process, decentralization, voter registration operation, and 81 participants on electoral violence mitigation.


Media Sector Development Program

Internews Network

Political Party Strengthening Program

National Democratic Institute (NDI)

Elections Observation Program

Episicopal Commission for Justice and Peace (CEJP)

Congo Demokrasia Civic and Voter Education Activity

Counterpart International

CENI Technical Support Activity 2015-2017

United Nations Development Program (UNDP)

Human Rights and Electoral Justice

Freedom House