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Readers react | Debate on our Congo corruption investigation

Here’s what readers are saying. What do you think?

Last week, The New Humanitarian published two reports that revealed widespread corruption and abuse in the aid sector in the Democratic Republic of Congo – one of the world’s longest-running humanitarian crises.

In the first story, we showed how fraudsters had been siphoning off money – aid officials think millions – meant from Congo’s most vulnerable in a multi-layered scam that may have gone undetected for over a decade.

In the second, we published the findings of a leaked report – commissioned in the wake of the scam – that looked at everything from corruption in the Ebola response to how women and girls are subjected to abuse by aid workers. The contents were damning.

Both stories triggered debate: some readers were shocked at the scale of fraud and called for change; others noted that similar issues affect humanitarian organisations around the world; a handful suggested lost aid should be par for the course in a place like Congo. 

Just in case you aren’t online all day, we’re gathering the reactions – good and bad – for you here. If you mention us or have your say here, we'll add your voice to the debate. 

“Shocking”, “horrifying”

Many readers were saddened by the findings of the investigation, which also revealed major problems with the systems aid groups use to root out corruption and abuse.

Calls to action

Other readers channeled their responses into calls for change, providing examples of how they think the aid industry could move forward. 

Change unlikely

Some readers expressed doubt that our findings might prompt change.

Be careful what you wish for

Some feared our investigation might reduce trust in humanitarian operations and lead to new procedures that could make it harder to get aid to people in need. 

Aid diversion or “leakage”?

Questions were raised over how common corruption is in the aid industry and whether our findings really deviate from the norm.

Experts weigh in

While some readers said they weren't surprised by the story, anti-corruption expert Oliver May explained why it deserves extra attention.

Keep on digging

Some – quite astute if we do say so ourselves – readers noted the need for more journalism that holds power to account within the aid sector. Remember, if you have an idea for an investigation or know something we should, here’s how to securely pitch to us.

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We uncovered the sex abuse scandal that rocked the WHO, but there’s more to do

We just covered a report that says the World Health Organization failed to prevent and tackle widespread sexual abuse during the Ebola response in Congo.

Our investigation with the Thomson Reuters Foundation triggered this probe, demonstrating the impact our journalism can have. 

But this won’t be the last case of aid worker sex abuse. This also won’t be the last time the aid sector has to ask itself difficult questions about why justice for victims of sexual abuse and exploitation has been sorely lacking. 

We’re already working on our next investigation, but reporting like this takes months, sometimes years, and can’t be done alone. 

The support of our readers and donors helps keep our journalism free and accessible for all. Donations mean we can keep holding power in the aid sector accountable, and do more of this. 

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