Out of Site: Building better responses to displacement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by helping host families

This study, based on recent interviews and field research in eastern DRC, provides new evidence to support a far higher priority to be given for assistance to hosted IDPs and their host families. This is not simply because these are vulnerable groups whose needs have been traditionally under-addressed. It is also because displaced people usually prefer living with host families rather than in camps, because they are seen as more ‘physically, emotionally and spiritually’ secure. Providing assistance mainly through camps undermines traditional coping mechanisms that can provide safer and more effective aid, and effectively limits the choices available to displaced people. The basic principle is that people should be able to go where they feel safest and assistance should be provided in ways that support livelihoods and help to keep families together.