Congolese Kids Not Reaping Any Benefits From Country's Step Toward Democracy

"UNICEF is addressing the problem talking directly to the communities and the families and providing informal schooling, which is recognized by the government," Bloomberg said.

"We do not back children employed in the mines. Education remains central in our work in DRC."

New Government Needs Support

In a glimmer of hope, the report highlights the first multiparty elections in 46 years as an opportunity for change.

The population has learned to deal with the long-lasting conflict with the church, developing strong roots all over the country even in the turbulent East.

In addition, a network of local nongovernmental organizations provide support within varying communities.

Bloomberg suggested that the international community needed to support the new government and encourage it to strengthen schooling and health services. Right now, aid agencies don't reach everyone because of security issues.

The United Nations is breaking records with its $422 million support of the election polls.

More than 25 million Congolese have already registered to vote -- more than 77 percent of the eligible population.

This is a victory for free elections, but U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan has called it a "logistical nightmare" because of security concerns and the size of the country.

On Sunday, Congolese President Joseph Kabila, who assumed power after his father was assassinated in 2001, will face 32 presidential challengers, including former rebel leaders.

Meanwhile, more than 9,000 candidates are contesting 500 national assembly seats.

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