Democratic Republic of the Congo

Population

83,301,151

Population 0‑14

41.7%

Internet Users

3.8%

Facebook Users

2,100,000

Mobile Subscribers

28,889,317
* Statistics provided by CIA.gov, Internet World Stats and GSMA Intellligence

2002 - the ADEN Project (Appui au Désenclavement Numérique, translating as Supporting Digital Inclusion) works toward equipping and connecting around 60 public Internet centers in rural areas, organizing training sessions on technical and administrative management to run these centers, and developing and publishing original Internet content. ADEN concentrates on eleven sub-Saharan French-, English-, and Portuguese-speaking countries, one of them being the Democratic Republic of Congo. The project received funding from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, enabling them to open 30 Internet access centers in total, four of which are in the DRC.

2003 - In the rural community of Vanga, a Community Resource and Learning Center (CRLC) was opened. The Center provides the necessary infrastructure to train health and education workers, community members and primary school children in the use of ICT. A special focus lies on female students, teachers, and community members, as women are often marginalized with respect to ICT use. The CRLC comprises a training room as well as a computer room with Internet-ready computers, printers, digital cameras and camcorders, digital audio recorders, televisions and other multimedia equipment.

2004 - A national policy on ICT use in education was launched, identifying two main concerns: the Internet and electronic governance. Action has been taken at three levels: university, basic education, and community. In basic education, USAID concentrates their efforts on women and girls as the literacy rate among the female population is only 55.1%. With the help of the Internet and radio, USAID has been able to train teachers and provide learning materials to students.

2010 - Although ICT education in public schools still seems to be in its infancy in the DRC, the recently published Development Strategy for Primary, Secondary and Professional Education (2010/11 – 2015/16) recognizes the need to use ICT to contribute to capacity building and increase teachers’ capabilities. The curriculum for Computer Education in secondary schools envisages that every student should be able to use the Internet for web browsing and e-mailing by the end of the second year, and aims to teach students how to implement available security measures such as password protection and antivirus software to protect their computer.

2012 - A micro-project to help nine students attend the sixth grade was completed with the use of Give For Youth, a Microsoft YouthSpark program, and GlobalGiving. Idjwi Island, located on the eastern border of the Democratic Republic of Congo, has experienced a rapid increase in its population in recent years, as refugees flee from violence in the DRC and Rwanda. A substantial number of this new, larger population are children, many of whom are orphans. If children are unable to pay for school supplies and the cost of tuition, they are forced to withdraw from school. The micro project provided the equipment that nine students needed to enable them to attend school, as well as training and equipment for the students and the wider school community.

2013 - The Vodafone Foundation partnered with Italian NGO, Don Bosco and Qatar Foundation’s Educate a Child programme to open the first Instant Network School in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The school in Goma enabled 400-500 children to access online educational content provided through the Instant Network’s mobile education programme.

2014 - Vodacom Congo funded a digital center, which comprises of 100 computers connected to the internet, 100 tables and 100 chairs, which was inaugurated at Universitie de Kinshasa. This University was one of the most poorly equipped higher learning institutions, and lacked many modern learning tools. The mobile provider Vodacom decided to come to the rescue and funded the ICT center.

2014 - Reynaers Aluminum and Close the Gap entered into a 3-year collaboration to bridge the digital gap in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In a project called ICT4 Education in Kinshasa, approximately 15,000 children and 40 IT-literate teachers have been introduced to digital literacy. Since 2014, 20 schools have been given the computers to build computer labs and 2 teachers per lab have been trained on how to use ICT to facilitate learning, and another 10 schools are to be reached by the end of the year.

2014 - Samsung Electronic Africa and the Ministry of Primary, Secondary, and Vocational Education created a Solar Powered Internet School (SPIS) in Kinshasa. The school is one of many across Africa, and is made of completely independent classrooms that aim to increase accessibility to education and connectivity. Each SPIS is built in a 40-foot long repurposed shipping container, so the classrooms are easily transportable to remote locations, and can withstand harsh weather conditions and energy-scarce environments.

2015 - Samsung Electronic Africa launched a Digital Village in Kasenga, providing the under-resourced area with access to communication technologies, education, and health services. The Digital Village includes a Solar Powered Internet School, a Solar Powered Tele-Medical Center, and a Solar Power Generator used to power the Administration Center, a space for community members with limited access to electricity.

2015 - In January, the government ordered telecommunication companies to suspend all internet and short message service (SMS), following protests for a proposed electoral bill. Banks and government agencies were granted internet access after four days of the ‘internet blackout’, but the general public did not receive access until early February.

2017 - Rudi International launched an ITC training program that targets young women aged 18 to 25. In September of 2017, a group of 20 young women began training one weekend each month, learning the basics of internet use. In the next phases, the women learned to use social media, and became part of the Congolese online community. The women were encouraged to become familiar with blog-writing, and were also taught about online security and data protection.

2017 - In August, the government blocked social media images on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Whatsapp following a two-day nationwide strike in demand of the electoral calendar. This measure came from the president of the DRC Telecommunications Authority after he cited ‘abusive sharing of images through social media’. Technical measures were undertaken to restrict this capacity to the bare minimum by telecom companies that provide internet services.

2018 - On the Day of the African Child (June 16th), the government announced a new system for reporting the images and videos of child sexual abuse. This initiative is founded in partnership with the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF). IWF will launch Reporting Portals where DRC citizens can report these images and videos anonymously.

African Child Policy Forum (ACPF)

A Pan-African institution of policy research and dialogue on the African child. They seek to identify policy options and contribute to improved knowledge on children in Africa.

ANPPCAN

ANPPCAN is a non-profit organization that operates as a national resource center on child abuse and neglect and children’s rights. They provide information and technical expertise on child protection and child rights issues, carry out research on emerging children’s issues and lobby governments, donors, other NGOs and communities on behalf of children. Headquartered in Kenya, the organization has 26 regional offices around Africa.

iEARN

A non-profit organization empowering teachers and young people to use the Internet to work together online on collaborative projects

INTERPOL

INTERPOL is the world’s largest international police organization, with 190 member countries. Its mission is to enable police forces to collaborate globally to fight crime in the Internet age. Three areas of focus are crimes against children (with a focus on internet crimes and travelling sex offenders), cybercrime and human trafficking.

INTERPOL Kinshasa

INTERPOL Kinshasa is the center for internal investigations within the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with a focus on crimes against children, cybercrime and human trafficking.

ITU Development Sector, Africa

ITU-D fosters international cooperation and solidarity in the delivery of technical assistance and in the creation, development and improvement of telecommunication and ICT equipment and networks in developing countries.

Ministry of Primary, Secondary and Professional Education

The agency responsible for all primary, secondary, and professional education in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Save the Children Democratic Republic of Congo

The organization works in partnership with the government, international, and local stakeholders to promote a bright future for DRC’s children. They help with getting children back to school as well as protecting them from exploitation and abuse.

UNHR Innovation

A unit of the UN Refugee Agency that collaborates with UNHR divisions, refugees, academia, and the private sector to creatively address complex refugee challenges

USAID

USAID is a government agency in the United States that works to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their full potential. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, USAID works to train teachers and provide learning materials while trying to increase the literacy rate of the female population.

World Vision DRC

A humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children and families to tackle the causes of injustice and poverty

End-User Engagement in the Design of Communications Services: Lessons from the Rural Congo (2018)

Donna Champion, Sylvain K. Cibangu

This study explored how 15 villages in rural Congo incorporate mobile phones into their daily lives.

Community-based Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health Surveillance: Perceptions and Attitudes of Local Stakeholders Towards Using Mobile Phone by Village Health Volunteers in the Kenge Health Zone, Democratic Republic of Congo (2018)

Mulamba Diese, Albert Kalonji, Bibiche Izale, Susie Villeneueve, Ngoma Miezi Kintaudi, Guy Clarysse, Ngashi Ngongo, Abel Mukengeshayi Ntambue

In early 2016, the study implemented a community-based maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH) surveillance using mobile phones to collect, analyze, and use data by village health volunteers (VHV) in Kenge Health Zone (KHZ), in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The objective of this study was to determine the perceptions of households, attitudes of community health volunteers, and opinions of nurses in health centers and administrative authorities towards the use of mobile phones for MNCH surveillance in the rural KHZ in the DRC.

Technology Adoption in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): An Empirical Study Investigating Factors that Influence Online Shopping Adoption (2018)

Janet Audu, Iluju Kiringa, Tet Yeap

E-commerce adopting in Democratic Republic of Congo is still in its infant stages. However, increased internet penetration could mean greater opportunities for e-business services in the country.

State of Internet Freedom in Democratic Republic of the Congo 2016: Charting Patterns in the Strategies African Governments Use to Stifle Citizens' (2016)

Arsene Baguma Tugali, Gauis Kowene, Ashnah Kalemera, Lilian Nalwoga, Juliet Nanfuka, Wairagala Wakabi

This report analyses the factors influencing ICT use in DRC and how laws and policies affect the country's internet freedom. The report focuses on the controls initiated by the government to inhibit citizens’ access to ICT, including internet shutdowns, censorship, retrogressive law-making, court cases against internet users, and surveillance.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Education in Sub-Saharan Africa (2015)

Peter Wallet

This document presents the current status of the Information and communication technologies in Education in the Sub-Saharan region.

Crowdseeding in Eastern Congo: Using Cell Phones to Collect Conflict Events Data in Real Time (2014)

Peter Van der Windt, Macartan Humphreys

This study piloted a novel data-gathering system in the Democratic Republic of Congo in which villagers in a set of randomly selected communities report on events in real time via short message service. The research highlights the benefits of collecting conflict data via cell phones in real time.

Congo, Democratic Republic of the No Advancement (2013)

United States Department of Labor's Bureau of International Labor Affairs

Findings on the worst forms of child labor in Democratic Republic of the Congo

ICT in Education: Catalyst for Economic Growth in the Congo (2010)

Sylvester Ngoma

A paper investigating how ICT supported education reforms can have the affect of increasing the efficiency of the economy of DRC

Research Report for GeSCI Meta-Review of ICT in Education Phase One (2009)

John LeBaron, Elizabeth McDonough

A response to GeSCI research study in order to provide an understanding of the complexity and exponential growth of ICT around the world

ICT as an Engine of Economic Growth in the Congo (2009)

Sylvester Ngoma

A paper to make a case for the adoption of ICT for economic growth and social development in DRC

ICT in Education in the Democratic Republic of Congo (2007)

Babacar Fall

A short country report providing a general overview of current activities and issues related to ICT use in education in the country

Are The Rural Schools Of The Democratic Republic Of Congo Ready For The $100 Laptop? (2006)

Nsomwe-a- Nfunkwa Banza

An assesment of the rural schools in DRC and their ability to handle ICT such as the laptops from OLPC

This section contains details of the country’s laws as they relate to sexual offenses, children and the use of the Internet in the commission of criminal activity. Where possible, sentence details have been given, including whether an increased custodial penalty is imposed where the victim is a child.

The Child Protection Law (Loi No 09/001, January 2009) supersedes some Articles of the Penal Code, imposing higher penalties and tightening up previously ‘grey’ areas in the country’s legislation. The Article 2 of the Law defines a child as being any person under the age of eighteen.

  • Article 147, Child Protection Law. This Article states that anyone who assault and injures a child will be punished by imprisonment for between three to six months and by a fine of 100,000 to 250,000 Congolese Francs. The Article also states that where the offense was committed intentionally, the penalty will be increased to between six to twelve months’ imprisonment and a fine of 150,000 to 300,000 Congolese Francs.
  • Article 148, Child Protection Law. Imposes a penalty of imprisonment for between six to twelve months and a fine of 200,000 to 350,000 Congolese Francs for anyone who assaults and injures a child, causing injury or temporary disability lasting for more than eight days to the victim.
  • Article 149, Child Protection Law. States that anyone assaulting and injuring a child, causing mutilation or permanent disability, will be liable to imprisonment for between two and five years and a fine of 350,000 to 500,000 Congolese Francs. Article 150, Child Protection Law. This Article states that anyone who assaults and injures a child, resulting in the death of the victim, will be punished by imprisonment for between five and 30 years, and a fine of 500,000 to 1,000,000 Congolese Francs.
  • Article 151, Child Protection Law. States that anyone subjecting a child to torture will be liable to imprisonment for between one and five years and a fine of 500,000 to 1,000,000 Congolese Francs. Torture means any act that causes pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, that was intentionally inflicted on a person for the purpose of: obtaining information or a confession from him/her or a third person; punishing the victim for an act that he/she or a third person has committed or intimidating, coercing or putting pressure on the victim or a third person for any other reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by a public official or other person in a public capacity.
  • Article 152, Child Protection Law. States that the penalty of life imprisonment will be imposed on anyone who causes the death of a child by torture or other acts of brutality, cruelty, heinous suffering, deprivation or sequestration.
  • Article 158, Child Protection Law. States that inciting a child to suicide is punishable by between one year’s to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of 400,000 to 1,000,000 Congolese Francs. If the child does, indeed, commit suicide, the penalty will be increased to life imprisonment.
  • Article 160, Child Protection Law. This Article imposes a penalty of imprisonment for between two and twelve months and a fine of 200,000 to 600,000 Congolese Francs for anyone who maliciously and publicly attributes to a child a specific fact which is likely to damage his reputation or dignity. If the offender accuses the child of witchcraft, an aggravated penalty of one to three years’ imprisonment and a fine of 200,000 to 1,000,000 Congolese Francs will apply.
  • Article 161, Child Protection Law. States that anyone who removes or causes to be removed, detains or causes to be detained, or holds a child for violence, ruse or threats is liable to imprisonment for two to five years. The Article also states that where the child abducted, arrested or detained has been subjected to physical torture, the offender will be punished by between ten and 20 years’ imprisonment.
  • Article 162, Child Protection Law. Defines child trafficking as the recruitment, transportation, harboring or receipt of children by threatening to use force, coercion, fraud, deception, abuse of authority or of a position of vulnerability, or the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person with authority over the child. Sale of children is defined as any act or transaction involving the transfer of children of any person to another against remuneration or other benefit. Child trafficking or the sale of children is punishable by between ten and 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of 500,000 to 1,000,000 Congolese Francs.
  • Article 169, Child Protection Law. Defines pedophilia as any sexual notion of an adult or teenager to a child, including indecent assault, sexual intercourse, eroticism, pornography, sexual abuse and rape.
  • Article 170, Child Protection Law. States that child rape is punishable by between seven and 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of 800,000 to 1,000,000 Congolese Francs. The minimum penalty will be doubled if the rape was committed by ascendants, persons who have authority over the child, the victim’s teachers or servants, public officials, religious ministers, medical staff, social workers or traditional healers. The minimum penalty will also be doubled if the offense was committed jointly by more than one person or in public; if the act caused serious harm to the victim’s health and/or psychological harm; if the victim was a disabled child or if a weapon or threat of a weapon was used.
  • Article 171, Child Protection Law. Defines the rape of a child as using violence, serious threat, coercion, surprise, psychological pressure or manipulation, directly or through a third party, or a coercive environment, the existence of an illness or the impairment of the child’s senses to accommodate one of the following: a man introducing his penis into the child’s vagina or a woman making the child introducing his penis into her vagina; anyone entering, even superficially, the anus, mouth or other body orifice of a child with a sexual organ, any other body part or object, or any women forcing a child to expose his sexual organ to touching a part of her body with it; anyone inserting any other body part or object into a child’s vagina or any person forcing a child to enter, even superficially, the offender’s anus, mouth or other body orifice with a sexual organ, other body part or any other object.
  • Article 172, Child Protection Law. Defines indecent assault as any intentional act contrary to the morals of a child. The Article states that any indecent assault without violence, deception or threat committed against a child is punishable by imprisonment for between six months and five years. Where violence, deception or threat was used the penalty will increase to between five to fifteen years’ imprisonment. The Article also states that where the assault was committed against one or more children under the age of ten, an aggravated penalty of between five and 20 years’ imprisonment will apply. The penalty will be increased to between five to fifteen years’ imprisonment if the indecent assault was committed by ascendants, persons who have authority over the child, the victim’s teachers or servants, public officials, religious ministers, medical staff, social workers or traditional healers.
  • Article 173, Child Protection Law. Imposes a penalty of between three and five years’ imprisonment and a fine of 500,000 to 1,000,000 Congolese Francs for anyone who encourages or facilitates the debauchery or corruption of children to satisfy the passion of others. Where the victim is under the age of ten, the offender will be liable to an increased penalty of between ten and 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of 200,000 to 400,000 Congolese Francs. Where the offense was committed by a parent, stepparent, guardian or any person having authority over the child, the sentence will increase to between five and ten years’ imprisonment.
  • Article 175, Child Protection Law. This Article states that anyone holding one or more children in order to sexually abuse them will be liable to between ten and 20 years’ imprisonment. If the child falls pregnant as a result of the offense, the minimum penalty will increase to fifteen years’ imprisonment.
  • Article 178, Child Protection Law. Defines indecent exposure as the show of intimate body parts and/or gestures of a sexual nature. The Article states that anyone subjecting a child to indecent exposure will be punished by imprisonment for between five and ten years and a fine of 200,000 to 600,000 Congolese Francs. The penalty will be increased to between five and fifteen years’ imprisonment and a fine of 200,000 to 1,000,000 Congolese Francs if the offense was committed by a parent, stepparent, guardian or any person having authority over the child.
  • Article 179, Child Protection Law. Defines child pornography as any representation by any means whatsoever of a child engaged in explicit sexual activity, real or simulated, or any depiction of the sexual organs of a child for sexual purposes. The Article states that producing, distributing, disseminating, importing, exporting, offering, making available, selling, acquiring or procuring a person to possess such material is punishable by between five and fifteen years’ imprisonment and a fine of 200,000 to 1,000,000 Congolese Francs. The material in question may also be confiscated.
  • Article 180, Child Protection Law. States that exposing children to any form of pornography is punishable by between five and 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of 1,000,000 Congolese Francs.
  • Article 181, Child Protection Law. Defines sexual harassment of a child as a person abusing his/her authority conferred to by his/her social pr professional position to exert pressure on a child to get sexual favors. Sexually harassing a child is punishable by imprisonment for three to twelve years and a fine of 200,000 to 400,000 Congolese Francs.
  • Article 182, Child Protection Law. This Article defines the offense of pimping with respect to a child as offering, obtaining, providing, procuring or using a child for sexual purposes against remuneration or other benefits. Anyone guilty of this offense is liable to between five to 20 years’ imprisonment. The penalty will be increased to between ten to 25 years’ imprisonment if the offense was committed by a parent, stepparent, guardian or any person having authority over the child.
  • Article 183, Child Protection Law. Defines sexual slavery of a child as exercising all personal powers related to the ownership of a particular child to hold the child captive, to deprive him/her of her liberty, or to purchase, sell, lend or trade the child for sexual purposes, and compel the victim to perform one or more acts of a sexual nature. Anyone guilty of the offense of sexual slavery of a child will be punished by imprisonment for between ten to 20 years and a fine of 800,000 to 1,000,000 Congolese Francs.
  • Article 168, Penal Code. States that indecent assault committed with violence, deception or threats will be punished by imprisonment for a term of between six months and five years. If the victim is a child under the age of eighteen the sentence will be increased to between five and fifteen years’ imprisonment.
  • Article 171, Penal Code. States that where indecent assault or rape caused the death of the victim, the offender will be punished with life imprisonment.
  • Article 171a, Penal Code. States that the minimum penalties for indecent assault with or without violence and rape of a child under the age of eighteen will be doubled if: the offender is an ancestor or descendant of the victim; the offender has authority over the victim; the offender is the victim’s teachers or servant; the offense was committed by either public officials, religious ministers , medical staff, social workers, or traditional practitioners; the offense was committed jointly by more than one person; the offense was committed on persons in captivity by their guards; the offense was committed in public; the victim’s health has seriously deteriorated as a result of the crime or a weapon was used.
  • Article 172, Penal Code. Imposes a penalty of imprisonment for between five months and three years for anyone who attempts to corrupt public morals by inciting, aiding or promoting debauchery or corruption of persons under the age of eighteen to satisfy the desires of others.
  • Article 173, Penal Code. This Article states that where the victim of the crime described in the preceding Article is under the age of ten, the penalty will increase to between ten and 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of 100,000 to 200,000 Congolese Francs.
  • Article 174c, Penal Code. Forced Prostitution. States that anyone who, to obtain a financial benefit or other advantage, causes one or more persons to engage in one or more sexual acts by force, threat or coercion, or by taking advantage of the victim’s inability to give consent freely, will be punished by three months’ to five years’ imprisonment.
  • Article 174e, Penal Code. Sexual Enslavement. Defines the offense of exercising any or all of the powers attached to the right of ownership over a person, including depriving the person of their personal liberty or selling, lending or bartering such a person for sexual purposes. The offense is punishable by imprisonment for between five and 20 years and a fine of 200,000 Congolese Francs.
  • Article 175, Penal Code. States that anyone who displays, sells or distributes songs, pamphlets or other written materials, figures, pictures, emblems or other items contrary to public morals will be punished by imprisonment for between eight days and one year and a fine. The same penalty will apply to anyone who, for trade or distribution, owns, imports or causes to be imported, transports, delivers to an agent of distribution or transmission, or advertises any songs, pamphlets, writings, drawings, pictures, emblems or articles contrary to morality. The Article also states that anyone who sings, reads, recites or utters obscenities in meetings or public places in the presence of several people and thereby offends their modesty will be liable to imprisonment for eight days to one year and a fine.
  • Article 176, Penal Code. Sets a penalty of imprisonment for eight days to three years and a fine for anyone who publicly insults public morals

Actions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child: Democratic Republic of the Congo has acceded, with no declarations or reservations to articles 16, 17(e) and 34 (c), to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and to articles 2 and 3, to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography.

They have also enacted articles 172, 175,176, and 177 of The Criminal Code and have adopted the Law on the Protection of the Child, which builds on previous commitments to international conventions. This law clearly defines a child as anyone under 18 years of age.