Internews has been working in the DRC since 2011, with operating offices in Kinshasa, Bukavu, Goma, and Lubumbashi.
From July 1, 2019, Internews implements a large-scale media development program, the 2019-2024 USAID/FHI 360 Media Sector Development Activity. In this capacity, Internews works with a range of partners to improve the business acumen of independent media outlets with a focus on community radios, drive up professional standards of journalism, enhance women and youth participation to the democratic debate and accountability processes, support protection of journalists and support the process of media regulatory reform and a legal reform to guarantee access to public information. This program targets 17 of the 26 provinces. This media development framework has received important support from the Swedish and Swiss development agencies.
This program continues the long-term USAID support to the structuration of the Congolese media sector. Internews a 7-year project, “Media Sector Development Program” (Phase I 2010-2015, Phase II 2015-2017) to support the growth and sustainability of dozens of community radio stations in 13 out of the 26 current provinces, provide protection to journalists and support advocacy for a reform of the media legal framework, enhance women participation to local democratic debate and support accountability of local authorities through debates and capacity building of local CSOs on communication and advocacy.
Internews also implements specific media projects that address identified gaps in the development of media in the DRC:
- Electoral information Vox Congo/ Congonews (2017), a daily radio news bulletin in French, Lingala, and Swahili on the electoral process, broadcast on 13 important radio stations in main cities, in 2017), the Support to Democratic Processes through Balanced and independent Media (SDPM) project (capacity building of journalists on electoral coverage, protection of journalists production of the Vox Congo daily radio news bulletin and access to youth and woman to media during the electoral debate)(2017-2019) and in preparation of the forthcoming 2023 elections
- An EU funded project which aims to enhance the use of IT solutions in the protection and the promotion of human rights defenders and journalists and strengthen investigative journalism (2017-2020)
- Medias2I (2020-2023) aiming to strengthen business models of independent online media outlets
Health and humanitarian information in the DRC
Internews developed activities and projects to address rumors and information during the three last Ebola outbreaks in North Kivu, Ituri and Equateur provinces, funded by USAID/BHA, H2H and the Paul G.Allen Foundation. These activities established a two-way communication stream between communities, local authorities, and Ebola Response coordination bodies and other key stakeholders, that provides feedback and track rumors, shared a rumor tracking bulletin Tulivyo Sikia with MoH, government, local authorities, humanitarian actors and community leaders). Internews also produces posters, radio spots and a 10-minute daily radio news bulletins in French, Swahili and Kinande, Koma Ebola, to disseminate the information that the communities need to accept preventive measures.
Since 2020, Internews developed a health information framework, funded by USAID, the EU and the Swedish cooperation, on COVID-19 including rumor tracking, the production of rumors tracking bulletins and radio programs, training of journalists, grassroot community engagement activities, notably with confessional associations, and media campaigns (radio programs, songs in Lingala and in Swahili, the main national language spoken in the DR Congo, live music broadcast on TV and radio stations, social media). Internews provides technical assistance to the Ministry of Health to develop its own rumor tracking methods with the objective of informing health policies.
Internews also implements humanitarian information and conflict mitigation projects in Eastern Congo, currently a DFID-funded Support to women’s networks to lead conflict prevention in DRC (2019-2021) in North Kivu, Ituri, Tanganyika and South Kivu. A EU-funded ‘Young Burundian Refugees for Information, Dialogue and Peaceful Coexistence’ project (2016-2018) supported young Burundian refugees and from host communities in South Kivu 1) in the production of the Ongea Yaga daily radio news bulletin in Kirundi and Swahili, magazines and public debates, and 2) conflict mitigation groups, to resolve conflicts and preserve peaceful coexistence in this conflict-torn zone.