Defining and identifying IDPs outside of camps in South Kivu: challenges, contradictions and consequences

Gloria Nguya

Type: DRC

Organisation: Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Country: DRC

Date: 10/06/2019

Full summary

Through two decades of conflict and a complex humanitarian response, internally displaced persons (IDPs) have been at the core of assistance in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and have attracted generous funding and attention. However, little is known about how different actors translate and use the IDP label in assisting this population. Furthermore, the consequences associated with the label have not yet been addressed in terms of the future of IDPs in eastern DRC. As a setting where IDPs are assisted outside of camps, South Kivu provides an opportunity to better understand the application of the IDP label in the reality of service delivery to this group.


Based on multiple interviews, observations and focus groups involving actors and host communities concerned with IDPs, this study aims to provide insight into the multiple representation of the definitions of IDPs.


The study seeks to address three overarching research questions:

  • How is the definition of IDPs constructed in practice?
  • What are the challenges to applying the IDP label in South Kivu?
  • How does the IDP label impact humanitarian assistance in South Kivu?