Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Priorities of Congolese Citizens

'Reach Out to Us: Findings from Focus Groups with Young Men and Women in the DRC' is a timely and informative report produced by the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs.

Based on a focus group methodology, the report found that Congolese are primarily concerned about their economic subsistence. They want jobs and security; they are extremely unhappy with the current state of their country and they hold the government responsible for not addressing the country’s woes. People dream of a country where their basic needs are taken care of and where they can live in peace.

The report's findings are hardly surprising. The approach (twelve discussions in six provinces) may even be perceived as naïve, superficial or unrepresentative. Nonetheless, its message and approach are important.

Congo Masquerade repeatedly made the point that reform and development strategies in DRC fail because they are designed and implemented by experts who are disconnected from local reality and ordinary peoples’ perceptions of what needs to be done. Primary beneficiaries – the people- are insufficiently informed, consulted and engaged. State-building strategies are imposed upon them - they are not embedded in their expectations or needs.

By giving voice to the people, this report sends a clear message to Congolese authorities and international partners who now have meaningful political information from the streets and villages of Congo of how people see their future.

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