Who are we?
Congo Research Group (CRG) is an independent, non-profit research project dedicated to understanding the violence that affects millions of Congolese. We carry out rigorous research on different aspects of the conflict––our first report, for example, investigates who is behind a series of massacres in the Beni region, while others reports look at links between elections and conflict, and at armed groups in the Kivus region. All of our research is informed by deep historical and social knowledge of the problem at hand, and we often invest months of field research, speaking with hundreds of people to produce a report.
We are based at the Center on International Cooperation at New York University. We publish in English and French.
What are our goals?
CRG aims to fill two gaps.
First, while there is a plethora of good journalism and human rights reporting on the Congo, there is a dearth of in-depth, investigative research on political and security developments. The peace process in the Congo has been hobbled by this lack of information and analysis on issues ranging from elections to armed groups and institutional reform. We aim to answer questions such as: What is behind the escalation of violence in northern Katanga? What conflicts could the decentralization and découpage processes spark? Why has the demobilization of armed groups been so slow and marred with controversy?
Secondly, we aim to promote Congolese voices in a debate that is often dominated by outsiders. While we are based in New York, all of the researchers for our reports are Congolese, as is the deputy director and the majority of our advisory board. While we address policy-makers of all stripes, we try to cultivate a Congolese audience and to empower Congolese to hold their leaders––and foreign actors––accountable. CRG also aims to build the capacity and promote the work of Congolese researchers, on topics ranging from conflict and security to politics and human rights.
What do we do?
CRG disseminates its research through a variety of channels:
- Reports: We have two kinds of reports. CRG Reports, which are long and provide exhaustive historical detail or evidence; and CRG Briefings, which are more succinct and often target a particular policy issue.
- Blog: CRG has two main blogs––Congo Siasa, written by CRG Director Jason Stearns; and La République de Kenge, by CRG Deputy Director Jean Kenge. Each appear weekly.
- Podcast: Our podcast is released every week and can be found on our website, as well as on iTunes and Soundcloud. It features interviews with leading pundits and opinion-makers in and on the DR Congo.
- Caricatures: Kash Thembo, a leading Congolese caricaturist, pens a weekly caricature––Kash on Kongo––that appears exclusively on our website.
- Maps and graphics: CRG tackles complex issues from different angles, and graphics can help illustrate our findings. Together with Christoph Vogel, we produce a map of armed groups in the Kivus, and we will soon publish infographics on the Congo.