Active 2010-Present

Many LRA members are unwilling combatants and have little desire to continue fighting. They are hundreds of kilometers from home and disconnected from the original political goals of the rebel group, yet they are too afraid to surrender. They are unsure whether their families will accept them back, and fear the security forces tracking the LRA.

Our response

We construct and repair FM radio towers and partner with local radio operators to broadcast ‘come home’ messages directly to  the LRA. With detailed instructions and the assurance of forgiveness and acceptance upon defection, these messages encourage those still held captive by the LRA to peacefully surrender.

International actors, including the security forces tracking the LRA, are highly supportive and contribute to “come home” messaging with the ultimate goal of removing the LRA from the battlefield as non-violently as possible.

Statistics

11 partner stations

89% of escapees credit ‘come home’ messaging as influential in their decision to escape

29,628 square miles covered by Invisible Children broadcasts

Learn More

Many higher-ranking LRA combatants, who are almost exclusively Acholi, have access to radios, and radio programming remains their only link to Uganda. For this reason, Invisible Children partners with local radio stations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, and South Sudan to develop programming and to build the infrastructure of radios in the region. The goal is for ‘come home’ messaging to reach deep into the bush, encouraging individuals or entire groups to surrender and escape the LRA.

Invisible Children’s defection team meets with recent LRA returnees to record ‘come home’ messages which are then broadcasted via Invisible Children sponsored radios across central Africa. These recordings are first-hand accounts of how former LRA members escaped captivity and were safely reintegrated back into their communities, emboldening those still in the bush to do the same. We also ask the family members of active LRA fighters to record personal, individualized messages that call combatants out by name, reassuring them that they are forgiven, and are wanted back home. This program is extremely successful: 89% of defectors cited defection messaging as influential in their escape.

In addition to nine FM radio stations, we also work with two shortwave stations – UBC Shortwave in Kampala, Uganda, and Mega FM in Gulu, Uganda. These higher-frequency stations, similar to AM radio in the U.S. except with a longer range, are able to reach every inch of the LRA-affected region. Another advantage of these stations is that the majority of their programming is in Acholi, the native language of many combatants.

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