What life is like in the Democratic Republic of Congo

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been in the news as two leaders dispute the election results and swear themselves in to run the country. Here is a source of information about what DRC communities think.


Mobile Accord was nice enough to share results of 12,750 text messages they collected in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 2010 using their new GeoPoll application. Here are some visual snapshots of what they found:

What were the root causes of the conflict in DRC? (1073 responses)

(Responses gratuites: Quelles ont ete selon vous les causes profondes du conflit en RDC?)


Alternate visualization, using Gephi to map connected phrases from these texts:

Click on the overall map to browse. Here’s a zoom in on the heart of the answers: POWER

Variations on power was common in many answers: Tribalism and power, politicians fighting for power, a lack of power for the people, lust for power, competition for power, poor sharing of power, pursuit of power.

What are important changes your region requires? (1462 responses)

(Reponses gratuites: Quels seraient les changements les plus importants qui pourraient rendre votre region plus sure?)

Mapping the essential phrases:

The 1462 responses could spell out national priorities for the Government of DRC and the international community:  Infrastructure, job creation, employment, security, health, education, and a mentality of changing behavior. Wordle emphasizes building roads and providing electricity.

What role should the international community play?

(Qu’est-ce que la communaute internationale pourrait faire de plus pour soutenir la paix et la securite en RDC? Est-ce que sa presence aide ou fait du mal, et comment?)

Nothing clear emerges to this question, other than maintaining a presence to support peace.

You can click to explore further.

What should the top priorities be?

(Quelles sont les priorites pour ameliorer la vie dans votre region – par exemple, la securite, les infrastructures, l’education, la sante, l’emploi?)

This response mirrors the important changes question: Employment, Health, Education, Infrastructure, and Security.

What should happen to the perpetrators of violence? (936 responses)

(Responses gratuites: Que pensez-vous qu’il faudrait faire aux auteurs de violences en RDC?)

The answer seems painfully clear: The perpetrators of violence must be punished under international law to bring justice…

Why do young people turn to crime?

(Reponses gratuites: Pourquoi certains jeunes se tournent-ils vers une vie de crime ou de violence?)

And the word map of these texts shows a similar focus: Lack of education, lack of work lead to violence and poverty.

If it was safe to live and work in your area, how would life be different today?

(Reponses gratuites: S’il etait plus sur de vivre et de travailler dans votre region, comment votre vie serait differente aujourd’hui?)

This question did not really work. Most responses included the question rephrased as an answer.  One answer said, “Compared to that of today? The answer is: Life is.

That may be more revealing than the rest. Do people imagine what life would have been like if circumstances were different in Eastern Congo? Perhaps not.

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