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Empowering mothers and children in DRC through cash transfers

The DRC is facing one of the world’s largest hunger crises, exacerbated by conflict and displacement, with an estimated 23 million people experiencing crisis levels of food insecurity. The first phase of our programme in DRC supports mothers and children through cash transfers to address one of the key drivers of food insecurity: affordability.


  • GiveDirectly
  • Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency


  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 17 - Partnership for the Goals




The Democratic Republic of the Congo - South Kivu


2022 - 2024


The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) continues to face complex humanitarian and development crises. Armed conflict, displacement, epidemics, natural disasters and the socio-economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic considerably exacerbated already existing vulnerabilities. These issues have compounded to create one of the world’s largest malnutrition and hunger crises. Almost half of child deaths (45%) under five can be attributed to malnutrition, as well as five million children considered stunted in 2020. Women are also suffering in DRC, with staggeringly high levels of anaemia at 41%. This is a dangerous statistic, as anaemia during pregnancy can lead to many complications, including low foetal growth, low birth weight, stillbirth and increased likelihood of infant death. More support is needed for these women and children. 

Our programme 

The Power of Nutrition is working with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) to address these challenges in DRC in a two-phased programme. The first phase is implemented with GiveDirectly who specialise in tackling poverty through cash transfers. Cash transfers provide households, particularly women, with the power to determine their own priorities by deciding where best to spend the additional income to address their needs. A key barrier to food and nutrition security is affordability, so as a result cash transfers are helping to support livelihoods, resilience, food security and ultimately improve nutrition outcomes.

Programme interventions

Cash transfers

Providing cash transfers over 24 months to households with pregnant women and children under five years old.

Social and behaviour change

Increasing knowledge on best nutrition behaviours through fliers and digital communication to promote better diets and food consumption.

Zizine's story

When Zizine received her first transfer of $392 she took a motorcycle to Minova to buy a stock of food to keep at home. 

Comparing her life now to before the transfers arrived, Zizine says that she is finally sleeping comfortably on a proper mattress rather than on a mat on the ground. She now sometimes has difficulties getting up in the morning, because she sleeps so well. Zizine was previously earning $1 (2,000 CF) per day from carrying goods for other people, which was insufficient to feed her children. Now that she can purchase enough food for them, her children eat much better. She has been able to buy foods like palm oil, rice, flour and fruit – even fish and meat sometimes.

Her youngest child is named Shukuru Mwenge. His hair had already begun to change colour due to malnutrition before Zizine started receiving transfers. Now, he is in good health, she says.

When receiving her monthly transfers, Zizine tries to keep half of the amount saved for bigger projects – she would like to build a house – and uses the other half to purchase food for her family. 

Zizine holds her child with the items she bought with her cash transfer

Progress to date


of participants have diversified their diets


children are eating more during the day


households have improved their assets

Furaha's story

Furaha is married and has nine children, the youngest of whom is nine months old.

The first thing she did when she received her transfer of $392, was to rush and buy a bag of rice, some flour and a 5L container of oil. She also used the first transfer to purchase a goat and 15 metal sheets to fix the roof of her house.

With her second transfer, Furaha paid for the school fees for her four children and bought some cassava flour to store in the house. Prior to receiving the cash transfers, her children were often sent home from school because their fees had not been paid.

Another change that she has observed in her and her family’s life is that they have started to eat well. They are able to eat three to four times a day now. She is happy with her children’s health, which wasn’t the case before. Once she has fixed the roof for her house, Furaha plans to start breeding goats and to develop this into a revenue generating activity.

Furaha and her family with items she brought with her cash transfer

Zizine and Furaha’s families are just two of the many families that so far have been able to benefit from cash transfers. Mothers have been able to provide their children with more nutritious food as well as supplying them with basic comforts, ultimately improving the family’s well-being and giving them a chance to thrive.

Although we have seen some great success from the cash transfers in DRC, unfortunately the programme was on hold during 2023 due to a serious instance of fraud and subsequent investigation. We are working with GiveDirectly to ensure we do better to reduce risk in the future, learning from this experience. As of January 2024 activities have once again restarted. For more information, visit:

Read about our other programme in DRC here.

CH1954004 Mary and her daughter Flocy three preparing a meal with vegetables from their garden at their home in Balaka district Malawi 1