With support from Pact and USAID, a community in DRC rebuilds after conflict

January 24, 2024
TCMR Kahite
Kahite Baruani works his cassava field. Credit: Franck Kaseya/Pact

The people of Sango Malumbi, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, have long faced difficulty. In 2016, many community members lost everything – their homes, fields and valuables – in a violent conflict between two local groups, the Twa and Bantu. Many families fled, and when they finally returned, disease and little food and clean water were just some of the problems that awaited them. 

In 2022, Pact and USAID began supporting Sango Malumbi through the Tanganyika Conflict Mitigation and Reconciliation project, or TCMR. The project is helping more than 22,000 people in DRC affected by food insecurity because of inter-community conflict and rising food prices. The project supports communities by distributing seeds and farming tools and providing technical support for market gardening, beekeeping and livestock and fish farming. TCMR also supports savings and credit associations and literacy training through WORTH.

After distributing seeds in Sango Malumbi, Pact and our NGO partners strengthened community members’ skills in innovative farming techniques and conflict management. 

"Before, I was almost entirely dependent on humanitarian aid, and it was difficult for me to look after my family properly,” says 45-year-old Kahite Baruani, a father of six and leading farmer in Sango Malumbi. “Today, I am financially independent, and my family is living comfortably.”

For years, Kahite worked his fields without any technical assistance, as he had no training in agriculture. He farmed using old-fashioned methods, which limited his yield. Since TCMR, Kahite has been able to dramatically increase his cassava production, and thus his income. 

Community members harvest cassava in Sango Malumbi. Credit: Franck Kaseya/Pact

At the end of 2023, Kahite was able to use part of his income from the sale of maniocs to buy hens, a new income stream for his family.

“Today, thanks to the fields we cultivate and the livestock we raise, we have enough to eat, and my family is overjoyed,” Kahite says.

TCMR works in five territories of Tanganyika province. The project organizes the coupled distribution of food and seeds, including peanuts, beans, cassava, chickpeas, rice and maize, in partnership with the World Food Program. For many families, the distributions marked a turning point. 

TCMR works to foster resilience and reduce communities' dependence on humanitarian aid, and farmers like Kahite are demonstrating that agriculture can offer important income opportunities for rural populations. The project has distributed more than 5 tonnes of seeds, and 506 hectares of fields have since been sown.

The TCMR project has also played a crucial role in promoting social cohesion in Sango Malumbi. By strengthening the conflict management skills of community members, the project has helped to ease tensions and promote unity.

"The TCMR project has positively changed my life,” Kahite says. “This year, I plan to expand my cassava field and hire five Twa and Bantu people – a way for me to help the young people of my village.”