DR Congo: Narrative capture about stabilization

Innovation Areas: SENSING
Stage: Early stage

Qualitative and quantitative data collection based on people’s stories and narratives

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The problem addressed

There is an increasing requirement from financial donors of development organizations such as the UNDP to show results conveying a transformational change in the lives of the populations and functioning of the institutions they are supporting. Monitoring the results of development programmes and projects being implemented remains difficult for development organizations, since the classic monitoring approach does not enable to obtain results indicators in an exhaustive and relevant manner. Evaluation however aims to measure the overall coherence of the project’s implementation and see how the project’s various products have contributed to changing the beneficiary population’s living conditions. What results is therefore a gap uncovered by the instruments currently available, corresponding to monitoring the project’s expected effects indicators.

The intervention

The purpose of the initiative is to expand a pilot project initiated in 2013 which uses a narrative based methodology focused on people’s stories rather than traditional surveys focused on opinion. This methodology allows the expression of a bigger variety of possible responses and promotes both qualitative and quantitative data collection, analysis, comparison and visualization. With more than 340 stories collected during the pilot in the province of South Kivu, UNDP DR Congo is aiming to collect more stories and expand geographically to the North Kivu province. If conducted periodically, it will allow monitoring of the change in patterns and stories that can be translated into actionable decision and initiatives to make the programme more effective.

The partners

The principal actors involved in implementing the initiative are the UNDP BCPR (Result Team), The Cognitive Edge firm, the UNDP Country Office M&E Unit in the DRC, the UNDP project management team, UNICEF, FAO, Civil Society, the project intervention zone’s beneficiary population, the political, administrative and customary authorities, and the multipurpose community centers.


After the data collection in the cited communities (South & North Kivu, Ituri), the emotional tone across all 3 communities are dominantly negative in tone. The distribution of stories from Ituri show that more than half (50.8%) are indexed as Negative in tone, and South Kivu (Pilot) has the highest percentage of strongly negative stories (40.4%). South Kivu (Pilot), however, also has the highest percentage of strongly positive stories (11.9%) compared to the other 2 community projects. North Kivu’s dataset displays the highest percentage of positive stories (22.3%) across all projects.

The DRC National Army and Church are consistently identified as playing Positive roles across all 3 projects - Self-defense groups are regarded positively in the data from South Kivu (pilot). However, they are identified in both Ituri and North Kivu as playing a Negative role. MONUSCO is identified in Ituri as playing a positive role, but identified in pilot and North Kivu as playing one of the top 3 Negative roles - the Court and Police are also consistently seen as playing Negative roles.

The DRC National Army is also identified in Ituri and North Kivu as the main agent involved in peace processes - in South Kivu (pilot), the Local Authorities are seen as playing the main role in peace processes.

Across all 3 projects, all 3 areas of need, Food, Water and Healthcare, are identified as important. However, North Kivu has a slightly denser cluster toward the top (13%) toward Access to food which should be studied for more context - mining communities could have lower levels of access to sustainable food sources than in South Kivu.

Lessons identified

There appear to be a stronger sense of trust in local authorities, local self-defense group and community efforts as opposed to larger organized efforts: while designing project and programme in post conflict situation it is important to better involve the local authorities, local self-defense group (depending on the context), community leaders and civil society organization;

Education seems to be regarded very importantly by all the communities’ members. Overall the top concern is that their kids can go to school in order to contributing to overall improvement in their skills and knowledge, employment opportunities habits and especially their attitudes: it is important to reinforce the advocacy toward donors and decisions makers on the investment in education sector that can contributes to change the attitudes of future generation and prevent them from civil war and ethnic conflict;

Justice is largely seen as deterrence (preventing the same thing from happening again), followed by reconciliation (repairing relations): the support to justice sector and security reform should be pursued with the objectives to build a rule of law country and protect people from the abuse and fight against impunity.

Contact person

Mamadou N’Daw: mamadou.ndaw@undp.org

Related materials

Blog: “Innovation Initiative” on Narratives capture from Communities Affected by Conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo Case of the Joint UNDP - UNICEF - FAO Project for Stabilization of the Communities Returning to the Miti Hombo Axis in South Kivu

Blog: Innovation facility : Sense Maker Narrative Capture


$100,000 USD

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