Over the past two decades, urban violence in the eastern Congo has reached alarming levels, However, it has rarely made it to the forefront of international policy and media attention. Violent cities, Violent Societies analyzes urban violence through the lens of the acceptability of using violence and the accessibility of violence, or the ease with which violence can be mobilized. Reducing violence requires addressing both of these factors. Specifically by reinforcing control over the movement of security personnel, devising new ways to deal with offenders, understanding how violence has become normalized and engaging with those who have been involved in violence to help design programmes to engage with and raise awareness among youth.
The RVI Usalama Project is a field-based, partner-driven research initiative examining armed groups and their influence on society in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The third phase (2018–2019) explores ‘insecurity in the city’ and the role of state and non-state actors in the provision of security, and citizens’ perceptions of, experiences with and responses to insecurity. The third phase was carried out in partnership with the Bukavu-based Groupe d’Etudes sur les Conflits et la Sécurité Humaine (GEC-SH). The project is guided by a series of questions: Who are the main agents of security and insecurity in the city? What are the drivers, logics and trends of urban insecurity? What are residents’ perceptions of insecurity? And how do they deal with insecurity in their everyday lives?