In terms of economic development, the Democratic Republic of the Congo dangles at the bottom of the world ranking. The life expectancy of its population barely reaches the age of 48. Only 29% of its rural population has access to drinking water. An utter paradox, considering the country has an immense wealth of commercial resources such as minerals, agricultural produce and wood. In 1989, Protos started its activities in the Ituri district (in the north-east) to improve access to drinking water and sanitation. Since then, 13 water systems have been built, providing water to some 500.000 people, or one out of eight, in the district. Militia roaming between the Kivu province, Rwanda and southern Uganda still sporadically create unrest and fear in the Ituri district.