Local humanitarian action in the Democratic Republic of Congo: capacity and complementarity

Working and discussion papers
March 2019
Veronique Barbelet with Paulin Bishakabalya Kokere, Emmanuel Kandate, Pacifique Makuta Mwambusa, Antoine Mushagalusa Ciza and Sanctus Nkundamwami Namahira

This study aims to critically research how capacity to respond to humanitarian crises in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is understood and assessed, how levels of capacity of different actors are perceived, and how gaps in capacity are addressed.

Complementarity between local and international actors in DRC is also examined, with the aim of identifying factors that support or undermine complementarity and humanitarian action that is 'as local as possible, as international as necessary'. Focusing on South Kivu and Kasaï Central, the study interrogates issues of capacity and complementarity in conflict settings.

The paper forms part of a two-year HPG research project looking at capacity and complementarity between local and international actors. The project aims to examine the following questions:

  1. How can capacity be better understood and applied to support more complementary and collaborative humanitarian response?
  2. What are the opportunities for and obstacles to harnessing the capacity of and forging more effective complementarity among local, national, regional and international actors responding to humanitarian crises?

This research is being conducted as part of ongoing discussion on the localisation of humanitarian aid, to critically examine some of the assumptions and discourse driving the debate, with a focus on capacity.