On 20 January 2018 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ntambwe (who does not know her exact age) holds her brother, Nalula Kelende, 3, at Saint Martyr Health Centre in the city of Kananga in the Kasaï region. They have come for a one-day nutrition screening session at the UNICEF-supported health facility, which provides free treatment for malnourished children. “I brought my brother Nalula to the health clinic because he suffers from malnutrition. My mother is working in the field,” Ntambwe said. “We come from Dibaya [a small town]. When clashes happened, we had to walk during three days to reach Tshikaji [a town]. Since the violences [sic], we only eat cassava and, if my parents find some money, we can sometimes buy wheat to cook food. But we often [go to] sleep with empty stomach[s]. All incomes from the harvests are not sufficient this year to cover all the family expenses. Nothing could be sowed this year, so there is nothing to eat anymore. I had to stop school last year because of the clashes. Since then I couldn’t go back because my family doesn’t have enough to buy me a new uniform. I would like to become a nurse one day so I could help sick children just like my brother.”
Violence and insecurity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo continues to seriously impede access to critical b services for millions of children country-wide. As a result of the continuing conflict, over 13 million people across the country, including 7.9 million children, need humanitarian assistance. Many people are also internally displaced; about 7.7 million people are facing severe food insecurity; and at least 1.9 million children under the age of 5 are suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM).
In the Kasaï region, the needs of displaced and returning families remain enormous as a result of violence, mass displacement and reduced agricultural production over the past 18 months. Severe food insecurity now affects large parts of the volatile region, le