Ever wondered how our LRA Crisis Tracker works? Or about the people behind it? If so, you’re in luck: today we’re here with some answers!
Meet Camille: Invisible Children’s Early Warning Network & LRA Crisis Tracker Project Officer.
Camille works closely with Invisible Children’s teams in the Central African Republic (CAR) and the DR Congo (DRC) to expand and improve the Early Warning Network. She is vital to ensuring that the Early Warning Network runs smoothly and keeps communities safe. On a daily basis, she helps put together workshops and trainings for communities using Early Warning radios, travels with her teammates to conduct assessments of the Network, and meets with local leaders and authorities—all to help ensure that families in central Africa are safe.
And she does all that while helping to manage our LRA Crisis Tracker. Camille takes on the essential role of making sure that information about local security collected through the Early Warning Network is accurate and makes it to the right people. Every evening, Camille analyzes and vets the day’s Early Warning Reports. She then uploads all of the new information into the LRA Crisis Tracker and shares it with the other organizations and institutions working to protect communities in central Africa.
And when we need more information about Early Warning reports, Camille is our gal. She works with community leaders and local organizations to investigate reports so no piece of information goes unreported.
Needless to say, Camille does A LOT to make sure the Early Warning Network and LRA Crisis Tracker are effective tools for sharing information and keeping communities safe.
Recently, we asked Camille a few questions about her job, and now we’re here to share her stories with you:
What is your favorite part of working on the Early Warning Network and Crisis Tracker?
I love that I am connected with some of the most remote communities in the world and constantly learning more about the dynamics in this region. Through my work, I hear from communities on a daily basis. It is pretty cool. I even get to speak with some Early Warning Radio operators in communities where I have never been.
I am really proud to be part of the team who is bringing the news of what is happening in central Africa to the world so that we can help make communities safer.
Tell us more about the workshops and trainings you work on?
We like to give workshops and trainings a forum-like structure. There always is a lot of discussion. We discuss everything from trauma-healing to income-generating activities, what we can do to improve the life of the people who come out of the LRA, how we can help them to come out, etc. We train communities on how they can be a part of encouraging LRA defections, reporting of incidents, conflict prevention, and conflict management. There is a wide range of topics that we tackle and the ideas often come from community members themselves.
When we spend time with local communities, we realize that they are thirsty for finding ways to build improve their capacity for keeping their communities safe and helping them thrive.
What is it like living and working on the ground in central Africa?
It is definitely challenging to be in remote places where there’s so little access to so much, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love being able to work in the field and with our CAR and DRC teams who live and work in central Africa full time. It’s a very enriching experience. You are always on your feet, very active, and challenged. The thing I miss the most is always food (I am French, after all!). I don’t mind the power cuts, bucket showers, and bugs; however, after a little while I do miss my comfort food. I always have a jar (or three) of Nutella in my bag!
Do you have any stories or memorable experiences to share from your work?
Just a few of weeks ago, one of the guards at our CAR office was on his way to work when he came across a local hunter who was helping an LRA escapee get to safety. The guard biked the rest of the way to our office like never before to tell us about the escapee.
As soon as he arrived and told us about what happened, some of the CAR team took a couple of motorbikes and went to pick up the escapee and the hunter helping him to bring them the rest of the way to our office. Seeing first hand the process of an escapee returning home with the help of a community member was really exciting. It was awesome to be one of the first people to welcome a boy who was brave enough to escape an LRA group.
We couldn’t be more grateful to have Camille as a part of our dedicated team. Even though we all have different jobs, we’re united in our goal to help communities in central Africa become safe from violence.