Democratic Republic of the Congo Regional Refugee Response Plan 2021

Regional Plan
Last updated: February 19 2021
Funding required
People in need
People Targeted

IOM Vision

IOM seeks to contribute to the efforts of governments and national inter-agency responses coordinated by UNHCR to ensure an overarching vision and coherent engagement for Congolese refugees by bridging the nexus between humanitarian interventions and assistance with a longer-term perspective. IOM's planned interventions will be multi-sectoral in nature, responding to the inter-agency analysis of needs and priorities of target beneficiaries and leveraging IOM's operational presence and technical expertise.

Save lives and respond to needs through humanitarian assistance and protection

Funding required
People Targeted
Entities Targeted
Local population / community, Refugee
Primary target group
People Targeted description

Vulnerable Congolese refugees in need of immediate humanitarian assistance in the following countries of asylum neighbouring the DRC: Angola, Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

Movement assistance

IOM in close coordination with UNHCR will provide safe and orderly and humane transportation assistance to the refugees in need.

Angola: To support the safe, voluntary and dignified repatriation of Congolese refugees expressing willingness to return to their country of origin, IOM will:

  • Provide logistical/movement assistance, including the hiring of buses and trucks; loading/offloading; escorting of convoys to reception centres in DRC; and labelling, transporting and handing over of luggage;
  • Provide separate and specific transport services for vulnerable returnees.

Burundi: To support vulnerable refugees in Burundi, IOM will:

  • Support the safe, orderly and humane transportation from border entry points to assigned refugee centres and camps (e.g. logistical and transportation support by bus);
  • Support comprehensive resettlement operations for eligible refugees to programmes overseas, including pre-departure activities (e.g. cultural orientation, medical check-ups).

Tanzania: To support the safe, orderly and humane transportation from border entry points to assigned refugee centres and camps, IOM will:

  • Provide logistical and transportation support.

Zambia: To support vulnerable refugees in Zambia, IOM will:

  • Provide safe, orderly and humane movement assistance to refugees from hosting centres of the government and border points to refugee settlements and other designated sites;
  • Provide support to in the process of resettlement, including logistics, transportation, fitness-to-travel checks, and provision of NFI kits, including COVID-19 supplies as needed.
Funding required
Plan types

Shelter, settlements and non-food items

Burundi: IOM will provide shelter and NFI kits to refugees in the camps and upgrade some of the dilapidated shelters through repair kits implemented by construction committees involving the beneficiaries. The activities will be monitored after distribution through evaluations and will include but not be limited to:

  • Provision of standard shelter and shelter repair kits (SRKs) in line with SPHERE standards to vulnerable refugees living in a shelter needing repair, after field assessment and selection through vulnerability criteria. The implementation will be through construction committees (involving the beneficiary households), supported by cash-for-work grants, adaptable to cash-for-labour in case of people with specific needs unable to participate in construction works;
  • Provision of rental support grants, for refugees/asylum seekers who have the opportunity to reside outside of the refugee camps (including financial assistance in the host communities to alleviate the economic pressure linked to hosting households);
  • Provision of NFI kits for vulnerable households, the composition of which will be aligned with the standards in-country approved by the relevant government counterparts and the Shelter/NFI sector.
Funding required
Plan types

Provision of water, sanitation and hygiene in emergencies

IOM will contribute to the effort of WASH partners to respond to the increased pressure on resources such as water and the access to sanitation and hygiene facilities, resulting in a strong influx of refugees inside the camps. Activities will include:


  • Improving the access to safe water and reducing water-borne diseases with improved access to clean water in accordance with SPHERE standards (20L of potable water per person and per day);
  • Contributing to the access to hygiene and sanitation facilities through the provision of gender-segregated, communal and/or household level (based on needs assessment) latrines and bathing facilities, as well as adequate handwashing stations in key areas of the camps;
  • Providing context-appropriate hygiene items, inclusive of Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) items for girls and women of reproductive age based on needs assessments, contextual recommendations from the GBV sub-sector (led by UNFPA), and in-country standard compositions approved by the relevant Ministry;
  • Contributing to promoting improved hygiene practices among the supported households and communities through community sensitization and awareness-raising activities, also ensuring GBV mitigation risks into the provision of WASH services, through consultation of women and girls in their daily challenges accessing these services. Awareness-raising activities and community dialogues will take into consideration recommended in-country COVID-19 preventive measures.


  • Contributing to improving access to hygiene and sanitation facilities at the institutional level through the construction of gender-segregated latrines facilities and adequate handwashing stations with hand-soap in key areas of the camps.


  • Constructing a water supply scheme in Rubondo (Nakivale) to enable new arrivals to have access to a reliable and safe water supply;
  • Supporting the operation and maintenance (O&M) of the three water supply networks to ensure the sustainability of water supply in Kyaka II, Kyangwali settlements;
  • Supporting the formation of WASH governance structures in Kyaka II and Kyangwali settlements to facilitate the transition to a Utility System, in which equitable access to safe water by the marginalised and vulnerable groups, and gender consideration well-streamlined;
  • Conducting hygiene and sanitation promotion and Risk Communication Social Mobilization and Community Engagements (RCSM-CE), actions to raise awareness of the affected communities regarding the importance of safe hygiene and sanitation practices, COVID-19 prevention and risk communication for malaria, cholera, and other diseases;
  • Conducting an assessment in selected districts to define the environmental risks, developing environmental risk mitigation plans considering the specific vulnerabilities of each district or area, and finally sharing the findings and the mitigation plans to concerned stakeholders for funding and implementation of the plans;
  • Supporting catchment protection initiatives in Kyaka through the empowerment of the communities residing near the catchment areas to pursue ecologically-friendly livelihood practices;
  • Conducting community awareness and sensitization sessions while focusing on creating a collective management approach on all catchment management activities, developing bylaws, adopting local operational rules and mechanisms that reward residents for practising stewardship for the environment as well as putting measurable environment action monitoring tools in place.
Funding required
Plan types


IOM will contribute to the efforts of UNHCR and other protection partners to support the protection response to refugees and host communities. Activities will include:


  • Supporting the mainstreaming of GBV and gender through all sectors, thematic areas of intervention and partners;
  • Raising awareness on trafficking in persons in humanitarian settings among the refugee community and service providers on prevention and referral of human trafficking cases;
  • Providing immediate assistance and specialised case management services to GBV survivors and victims of human trafficking (including referrals to shelter, MHPSS, health, livelihoods, legal and durable solution actors; information and referrals to other relevant services);
  • Undertaking protection risk assessments and protection monitoring to ensure a systematic identification of protection risks and concerns, in order to strengthen evidence-based programming;
  • Ensuring that protection is mainstreamed in all of IOM’s interventions through training of staff and partners on protection principles;
  • Ensuring a solid approach to preventing and responding to sexual exploitation and abuse (PSEA), including appropriate investigation and response mechanisms, and ensuring that all staff and partners are trained on case identification and referral mechanisms.


  • Fostering community engagement of all genders at all social levels will be carried out to tackle the root causes of GBV and gender inequalities, harmful social and cultural norms;
  • Engaging and empowering persons of all genders across all sectors of society to discuss, identify and change social norms that create power imbalances;
  • Supporting the mainstreaming of GBV and gender through all sectors and partners by building the capacity of the pre-existing networks including refugee welfare committees and community activist groups to facilitate survivors’ access to care services;
  • Strengthening the coordination with other agencies working on protection and traditional communities’ structures, and information exchange system to identify and protect children at risk, conduct awareness-raising and capacity building sessions for protection partners and communities to enhance the referral of at-risk children through community-based child protection mechanisms;
  • Conducting mass sensitizations to increase community awareness of existing MHPSS services and where to seek assistance. 


  • Awareness-raising amongst the refugee and host communities on human trafficking and GBV to be prioritised;
  • Enhancing the capacity of stakeholders working with refugee populations on the prevention of trafficking in persons and GBV and protection of victims of trafficking and survivors of GBV, including screening, identification, and referral of victims of trafficking and those at risk to appropriate service providers;
  • Activities will support the establishment of a referral mechanism, which will aim to ensure the rights of trafficked persons are expected and provide an effective way to refer victims of trafficking to services, and will include: (1) development and implementation of a district/community referral mechanism for human trafficking and GBV which is aligned to the national referral mechanisms; and (2) development of information, education and communication (IEC) materials, GBV and counter-trafficking information campaigns and outreach sessions with the refugee community and service providers on prevention and reporting of human trafficking and GBV cases.
Funding required
Plan types

Camp coordination and camp management

Burundi: IOM will be improving living conditions in camps through maintenance and critical upgrades. Activities will include:

  • Implementing site risk reduction interventions, with a focus on safeguarding the protection of refugee camp populations;
  • Encouraging community participation and maintaining mechanisms to ensure accountability to affected populations in the camps;
  • Facilitating coordination of all actors in the camps for improved access to services;
  • Rehabilitation and improvement of infrastructures in camps to improve the living conditions and site safety, and mitigate the risks of GBV;
  • All camps will be equipped with an ambulance and camp security.
Funding required
Plan types

Mental health and psychosocial support in humanitarian response

Burundi: Upon the arrival of refugees, health and mental health and psychological support (MHPSS) will be provided, including referrals as needed, to returnees to ensure continuity of care. IOM Burundi will provide MHPSS with a focus on services which ensure a strengthened protection environment in the community by:

  • Facilitating access to services and other measures to ensure social cohesion and safety of beneficiaries;
  • Strengthening family and community support for people who can maintain their mental health and psychological well-being if they receive help in accessing this level of assistance;
  • Provision of psychological first aid as well as focused MHPSS through individual and group counselling;
  • Providing psychiatric consultations and clinical psychological consultations to people with pre-existing and/or emerging forms of severe stress, behavioural and relational problems, and mental disorder conditions;
  • Strengthening the capacity of civil society and government partners in the field of MHPSS;
  • Building and strengthening referral mechanisms, in collaboration with protection/GBV actors, similarly to health system strengthening activities.
Funding required
Plan types

Address the drivers and longer term impacts of crises and displacement through investments in recovery and crisis prevention

Funding required
People Targeted
Entities Targeted
Local population / community, Refugee
Primary target group
People Targeted description

Refugees who have been affected by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including through reduced access to livelihood opportunities and limited trade exchanges between the camp population and the host community in Rwanda and Burundi.

Address the socio-economic impacts of health crises

Rwanda: IOM Rwanda will support livelihoods opportunities for refugees and host communities involved in cross-border trading and impacted by displacement to help build resilience to the negative impacts of, and recover from health crises such as COVID-19, through:

  • Building trading capacities based on market needs through business and vocational training and linkages with associations/cooperatives to improve access to economic resources, household asset building, value addition through value-chains establishment and market linkages intended to reduce poverty.
  • Ensuring individual mentorship for selected beneficiaries who lost their livelihoods as a result of COVID-19 and provide them with start-up kits/start-up capital to re-engage in commercial activities and increase stocks for agro-inputs to address interrupted supply chains and a disrupted planting/harvest season, hence ensuring that cross-border market dynamics can play a strong role in addressing the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19.
Funding required
Plan types

Durable solutions

Burundi: In alignment with IOM’s framework for the Progressive Resolution of Displacement Situations (PRDS), IOM Burundi will support the refugee and host communities to address challenges due to the sudden influx of refugees and restore stability and inclusive access to essential services, through social cohesion and livelihood activities. Activities will include:

  • Community dialogues amongst refugees, asylum seekers and host communities (including IDPs) will be organized to foster social cohesion and tackle social integration challenges;
  • Projects aiming to enhance the pacific coexistence with host populations and promote social cohesion, through inclusive theatre plays and quick impact projects;
  • Projects that aim to promote social cohesion;
  • Provision of livelihood toolkits and activities, specific to the experiences and needs of the refugees.
Funding required
Plan types

Contribute to an Evidence Based and Efficient Crisis Response System

Funding required
At risk communities
People Targeted
Entities Targeted
Primary target group
People Targeted description

UNHCR, government counterparts and partners in Burundi.

Displacement tracking

Burundi: The DTM tool will enable IOM to pursue mobility tracking, flow monitoring, registration and surveys. DTM will be used to collect, process and disseminate regular information and data disaggregated by sex and age on:

  • Refugees’ movements in and out of the camps, as well as in the host communities, to provide a better understanding of the movements and needs of affected populations to partners to plan, facilitate, orient and improve assistance provided to the affected populations;
  • Refugees who are affected by disasters related to natural hazards. IOM will also utilise its Emergency Event tracking to track emergencies in the camps and refugee settlements in order to provide necessary information for a tailored response thereafter.

IOM's DTM activities in Burundi will also include:

  • Conducting flow monitoring year-round at the border between Burundi and South Kivu, to ascertain the flow in and out of refugees and the reasons behind;
  • Production of DTM products and sharing of information;
  • Tracking locations refugees and providing the necessary information for recovery and crisis prevention programming;
  • Activating its Emergency Event tracking, which provides timely data on the number of individuals displaced due to an emergency or secondary displacement.
Funding required
Plan types
Operational presence in

Angola, Burundi, Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia


Figures are as of 31 December 2020. For more details of IOM's operational capacity in country, please see the IOM Capacity section.