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Our Programs

Supporting Street Children in Kinshasa during COVID-19

Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
| 2020-2021
With funding from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, EngenderHealth supported the delivery of essential services and facilitated access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) care for young people living on the streets of Kinshasa.
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According to UNICEF, there are between 60,000 to 70,000 street children in Kinshasa. Through this program, EngenderHealth supported Réseau des Educateurs des Enfants et Jeunes de Rue (REEJER) and its network of more than 160 member organizations that coordinate assistance for street children in the DRC. REEJER provides food, basic healthcare, safe shelter, SGBV support for young people living on the streets of Kinshasa. The program worked in five Kinshasa communes—Bumbu, Kalamu, Kintambo, Matete, and N’djili.

In addition to providing food, the program offered basic medical care, including essential medicines, information around SGBV, information on preventing COVID-19, and facility referrals for primary and SRH care through mobile medical services. We also conducted awareness-raising activities about COVID-19 and SGBV in collaboration with street youth community leaders. EngenderHealth conducted SGBV training for program staff and REEJER (including REEJER’s medical staff and street youth community leaders) to improve their understanding of key concepts and issues related to SGBV.

Between July 2020 and June 2021, the program provided 16,356 meals to street children. EngenderHealth also enhanced the capacity of five of REEJER’s highest-performing clinics to deliver basic medical care and family planning counseling and services. The program reached 16,269 street children with basic medical care and referred children with more complex health issues for follow-up services at health centers as needed. We also trained 19,255 street children and youth on COVID-19 prevention measures and sensitized 17,727 street children and youth on SGBV. In addition, we supported REEJER in training community youth leaders to educate their peers on FP and SGBV and facilitate access to shelter. We also supported REEJER in organizing events for 16 days of activism against SGBV, which the Gender Minister attended.

Supporting Street Youth in the DRC through COVID-19