AAI’s work started in DRC in 1987 providing emergency relief to Burundian refugees who had crossed over to in the eastern town of Uvira, South Kivu Province from Burundi. In 2002, AAI supported local communities in the aftermath of the volcanic eruption in Goma, North Kivu Province in January of that year, at which time it also conducted its first country appraisal. AADRC acquired legal registration to operate in the DRC from the DRC Government in 2006.
AAI extended its activities into South Kivu Province and opened a field office in Bukavu in 2006 mainly to address the problems faced by war affected and Congolese returnees from Tanzania. It presently operates in 15 territories in North and South Kivu Provinces, which is home to about 12 million people. AAIDRC has an income of £1.7m in 2011 and currently has 27 staff members, its headquarter office in Goma, Eastern DRC, and a Liaison Office established in September 2010 in Kinshasa, capital city of the DRC.
The programme is rooted in AAI’s rights based approach to programming and covers women’s rights and the rights to education, to human security in conflict and emergencies, and to life and dignity in the face of HIV/AIDS. The programme takes an integrated approach combining multiple funding streams in a solid HRBA which uses REFLECT to build human rights awareness, consciousness and organisation. AADRC has instituted broad based partnerships with parents’ organizations, the teachers union, children’s parliament and public agencies. There is some successful mobilization in advocacy in the area of women’s rights and peace, and initial research on land rights.