Congo is a beautiful country with amazing people, but it is also plagued by conflict and corruption, which has left some public services in dire condition, particularly health and education. Many schools don’t have adequate supplies or infrastructure and teacher salaries are critically low, for example.
To address this, the International Rescue Committee introduced a grassroots, local governance program that included, for the first time, consultations with the villagers. The goal was to make the people who manage and run public services more responsive to the needs of the community.
But has this approach worked to improve delivery of public services in Congo?
Peter van der Windt, assistant professor of political science, is leading a huge data collection project to answer that question. The research will span 339 villages across the country and, he hopes, help policy makers make more informed decisions about the impact of their programming.