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DR Congo

Women make themselves heard at Family Planning conference in Kinshasa Dec 2009
C-Change has been providing technical assistance and support for a broad range of USAID communication and capacity building activities in the DRC:
  • C-Change has been leading efforts to reposition family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH) as a priority, developing and supporting radio dramas to increase use of FP/RH services, and developing a dialogue guide for community health workers as they conduct conversations about FP/RH.
  • C-Change has been engaged at national, provincial, and community levels on communication for malaria prevention and control, providing expert guidance and building skills and capacity in social and behavior change communication (SBCC).
  • C-Change has been developing and testing a comprehensive approach to reducing school-related gender-based violence among students ages 10–14 in Katanga Province, including by engaging teachers, school administrators, and community members
  • C-Change continues to build the SBCC capacity of partners who deliver services in FP/RH, maternal and child health, malaria, and TB.
  • C-Change has been building the SBCC capacity of local staff at Search for Common Ground and assisting them with incorporating behavior change messages around HIV prevention into several local radio and television programs.

 US Ambassador visits school in Katanga with SRGBV program

USAmbassador James Entwistle visits SRGBV school program in Katanga Province, DRC and views C-Change productsThe Honorable James Entwistle, US Ambassador to the DRC, was welcomed by students at Complex Scolaire Ujusi in Lubumbashi, Katanga Province, on April 26, 2012. He met with students, learned about C-Change's school-related, gender-based violence (SRGBV) and mitigation project, and viewed some of the materials being used . Katanga Province's Wantashi TV and Radio broadcast the visit. Click here to view and download the materials developed by C-Change.




Changing social and gender norms and reducing violence in schools in Katanga


C-Change is developing, testing, and evaluating a comprehensive approach to promote positive social and gender norms to prevent and mitigate school-related, gender-based violence (SRGBV) among students ages 10–14 at primary and secondary schools in Katanga Province. It is known that there are links between violence in the home, violence in the school, and violence in the community. By focusing this initiative on the school environment in Katanga, the aim is to break this cycle and lessen the level of violence in the target schools as well as in communities at large.

Based on formative research, the C-Change project developed community media campaigns utilizing radio, television, educational comic books, and other community channels to create awareness of the issues related to SRGBV and youth. These messages focus on improving attitudes and behaviors that contribute to hostile environments for students. Many of the materials are available on C-Hub.

Activities and interventions target students, school administrators, teachers, parents, and community members. A variety of approaches that encompass advocacy, community and social mobilization, and behavior change communication are involved in the effort to change social and gender norms that are a legacy of years of conflict and societal breakdown.

SRGBV Oversight Groups have been formed that include administrators, parents and focal teachers. Activities based on the Safe Schools Program curriculum are taking place in the classroom, at student assemblies and gatherings, and through after-school youth clubs.

To date, radio spots and in-depth radio shows on the "Rights of the Child, Positive Discipline, and Corporal Punishment" have been produced and broadcast. In addition, 6,000 copies of two editions of the comic book series Bleu Blanc have been distributed throughout Katanga Province and the capitial city of Kinshasa at minimal cost (less than $1). It is projected that 500,000 individuals, including extended family and friends, will be exposed to messages in the comic books that promote postive gender norms and positive discipline and discourage corporal punishment. Thirty teachers have received training as first responders for SRBGV and 200 teachers have been trained using the USAID Safe Schools "Doorways III" module. In addition, 123 parents have been trained on the C-Change anti-SRGBV approach, youth clubs to counteract SRGBV have been established at the 31 target schools, and 154 youth club leaders have been trained as peer mentors. 

Community radio has been used to raise awareness about SRGBV: 861 radio spots were aired and six in-depth radio shows broadcast 33 times between September 2011 and March 2012.
HIV prevention

Incorporating HIV prevention messaging in popular TV and radio programs 

C-Change partnered with the Search for Common Ground (SFCG) and has been strengthening the SBCC capacity of its staff to further their work across several health areas. 

Journalists display certificate of completion for SFCG course on journalismIn addition, C-Change developed a module on integrating health messages into radio programs for a training that SFCG is implementing with eight radio partners in four provinces. The module trains participants on the importance of behavior change as part of health messaging, on how to write a good broadcast plan for a donor, and on how to evaluate the effectiveness of programs that are broadcast.

Training participants learn how to write for radio programs, develop objectives, and techniques for conducting interviews and reporting events. Specifically, SFCG trains these journalists on the development of talk shows, "magazine-format" shows, and round table discussions—formats that seek to engage audiences. The course also addresses the fundamental journalism principles and ethics: ensuring the accuracy of information, maintaining impartiality, and taking responsbiility for what is produced.

C-Change has also providing technical guidance on messaging and story lines for some of SFCG's popular TV and radio programs and worked with their staff to incorporate messaging on HIV prevention. The programs include:DRC-StudentsinBukavuAnswerQ-DuelDesJeunesDemocrats

  • Duel des Jeunes Democrats (Duel of Young Democrats): This is a national radio game show that puts students from two secondary schools in competition by asking them questions on a variety of topics. The school with the most correct answers wins. C-Change provided technical input and financial assistance to programs in the series on preventing HIV and other STIs and the importance of HIV testing and counseling.
  • Uishe na Upende (Live and Love): For this weekly radio program, C-Change pretested HIV-prevention spots that address sexuality, gender, and relationships for youth ages 15–25. These are aired in five languages: Swahili, French, Lingala, Kikongo, and Tshiluba. 
  • Jirani ni Ndugu (My Neighbor Is My Brother):  C-Change incorporated messaging on the dangers of stigma and misinformation about HIV into this popular radio drama series on post-conflict situations.
  • L’Equipe (The Team): C-Change is providing training, equipment, and financing for a TV drama about a female soccer team that deals with gender equality and HIV prevention. TV screenshot from L'Equipe- a show on gender equality and HIV prevention
  • Tosalel’ango (Let’s Do It!): This reality TV program focuses on participants who take on challenges in their communities. C-Change provided technical and script assistance on reducing discrimination against people living with HIV and other related issues.

Malaria prevention and control

PMI launchs DRC as 16th focus country-November 2010

C-Change is supporting the coordination and implementation of the national malaria SBCC strategy by providing expert counsel for the National Malaria Control Program (PNLP) and working groups at national and provincial levels and by supporting the development of integrated workplans and cross-partner collaboration in East Kasai, West Kasai, South Kivu, and Katanga provinces.
C-Change is also facilitating revision of current communication materials on malaria prevention and control to ensure consistency with the national policy and current best practices. Background papers and FAQs drafted support improved awareness, high-level political commitment, and accurate, timely coverage of malaria events, projects, and activities.
C-Change has been developing a technical support and capacity building program in SBCC to enhance the skills of officials in the National Malaria Control Program, provincial-level coordinators and coordination officers, and community relais. In addition, C-Change is training trainers to provide follow-on mentorship and sustained technical assistance.
Recently, C-Change led the public relations efforts and logistics for the launch of the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) in the DRC. In mid-November 2010, U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator Rear Admiral Timothy Ziemer travelled to Mbuji-Mayi, capital of Kasai East Province, for the kick-off ceremony that marked the DRC’s new status as the PMI’s 16th focus country.

Building SBCC Capacity at the University of Kinshasa

Dr. Yaya Drabo, Chief of Party for C-Change/DRC, conducted a week-long SBCC training in February 2011 for 40 graduate students at the University of Kinshasa’s School of Public Health.  He co-taught the seminar with Professor Piripiri Lina Mvumbi, who manages health programs at USAID/DRC.

Using the C-Modules curriculum, Dr. Drabo guided students in the development of creative briefs to inform message development for a health campaign and then led students through the process of pretesting their messages.  Learning by doing, the students enjoyed the opportunity to hear Dr. Drabo share his years of health communication experience in many countries across a range of health issues, including family planning, maternal and child health, and immunization. 


Family planning and reproductive health

C-Change Leading Efforts to Reposition Family Planning

First Lady Marie Kabila address FP conference in Kinshasa in Dec 2009C-Change has been engaged in mobilizing stakeholders, partners, and the government to reposition family planning policy and programming in DRC as a priority. A national FP meeting was held in the DRC in December 2009. The goal was to expand FP/RH efforts and create a cross-sectoral forum of government, donor agencies, and civil society to take forward efforts to elevate FP programming and policy and garner resources needed.

According to the 2007 Demographic Health Survey, about 58% of all women in union in the country want to space the next birth or have no more births. However, only 6.5% use a modern contraceptive method, whereas 16% did in 1990.

Training Community Health Workers (Relais) to use the FP Dialogue Guide

A community relais uses skills learned during training on the FP Conversation ToolC-Change trained 3,000 relais communautaire (community health volunteers) in the provinces of East Kasai, West Kasai, and Katanga to use the Family Planning Dialogue Guide  developed by the project. These outreach workers use the guide during home visits or group discussions to conduct conversations about important FP/RH issues, such as spacing of pregnancies for the health of mothers and children, the importance of visiting health clinics for FP/RH counseling and antenatal care, and the use and benefits of modern contraceptives: the pill, condoms, and injectables. 

The  Family Planning Dialogue Guide is available for download in French and English. It has been approved for national use by the DRC's Ministry of Health.

Increasing FP Use and Building the SBCC Capacity of Local Radio Stations

C-Change developed a four-part radio-drama series to increase the number of women and men who participate in FP counseling in 10 pilot zones of  four provinces: Kasai East, Kasai West, South Kivu, and Katanga. Scripts in local languages address the use of modern contraceptives and the importance of increasing birth spacing to improve the health of children and mothers. "For a healthy and prosperous family, practice family planning” is the campaign's overriding message.

community radio broadcasts family planning dramasRadio was selected because it appeals to cultures with oral traditions and is a cost-effective way to reach people with information pertinent to their health needs, especially those who live in remote areas and lack reading skills. 

The radio scripts were developed by C-Change partner CARE, based on formative assessments by C-Change. Two USAID partner projects, AXxes and Leadership, Management and Sustainability (LMS), created the community radio network carrying the drama series. Local theater groups have been presenting the same dramas in communities where there is no radio access.

C-Change built the capacity of AXxes and LMS to involve community radio in their SBCC activities. C-Change, AXxes, and LMS met with community radio managers in the 10 pilot health zones to discuss how to improve radio coverage of family planning and other health issues. C-Change also provided the stations with solar panels, tape recorders, and cassettes to improve their broadcast capacity.  

Technical Assistance in SBCC

C-Change worked to mobilize community participation and utilization of health services for family planning and reproductive health, maternal and child health, malaria, and tuberculosis. These efforts support two large projects, Leadership Management and Sustainability (LMS) and Project AXxes, which have rebuilt health clinics, trained health providers, and ensured availability of healthcare commodities. C-Change provided technical assistance and capacity strengthening in SBCC for these service-delivery partners in four areas in the eastern part of DRC in 2008-09. Activities include designing a community participation strategy to increase use of services and improve the health status of communities they serve.

Quick Glance

Map of DR Congo from CIA World Factbook

Click map to enlarge


Total fertility rate

Contraceptive prevalence
(married women 15-49)
Overall: 18%
Modern methods: 6%

Maternal mortality rate
670 per 100,000 live births

HIV prevalence
1.6% (adult population 15-49) N

Use of ITNs
9% (households with at least one)

Use of IPTs among pregnant women
5% (received two doses)


Sources: DR Congo DHS 2007PRB 2011WHOWorld Factbook