We wanted to provide you with a brief update surrounding the situation that is unfolding on the ground in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in response to last week’s elections.
International news agencies such as Voice of America, BBC, and United Press International (UPI) have reported that tensions surrounding the elections resulted in violence that led to 18 civilian deaths and hundreds of injuries. Election results were scheduled to be released on Tuesday, Dec. 6, but have been postponed, and we are awaiting further updates.
In Kinshasa, Gilbert Lagaillarde, CEO of Opportunity DRC, and his staff are closely monitoring the situation surrounding the elections. Opportunity DRC clients are some of the most vulnerable people in Kinshasa, and any disruption to their businesses and livelihoods will have profound consequences for them. The safety and security of Opportunity DRC staff members and our clients is the top priority, and should the violence escalate within the areas where we operate, our branches will be closed until it is once again safe to resume operations. Measures have also been taken to protect the buildings that house Opportunity DRC’s operations, its equipment and other assets, and to mitigate any harm that may occur in the event that tensions further escalate.
We are grateful to report that at this time, all of our staff appear to be safe, and that none of our branches in the DRC have been damaged by the violence that has occurred during the past week.
Opportunity International will continue to monitor developments pertaining to the elections and any resulting unrest that may occur in the days following the release of the election results. We are in daily communication with our staff as they attempt to sort through the situation and gather information on our branches and clients. We’ll provide you updates on our Facebook page and on the Opportunity Blog as they become available.
Please join our prayer for the people of the DRC.
Several weeks ago Gilbert Lagaillarde spoke to Voice of America’s In Focus program about Opportunity’s microfinance operations and the important ways these impact the lives of people in the DRC. Watch the interview here.