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Active 2010-Present

The LRA operates in some of the most remote regions of central Africa, terrorizing communities that lack the basic communication infrastructure to report LRA attacks or receive warning when LRA groups are active nearby. Historically, the rebel group has been able to move freely throughout its area of operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, and the Sudanese-controlled enclave of Kafia Kingi, attacking isolated villages that have a limited capacity to broadcast their plight. These atrocities go largely undetected and undeterred. In December 2009, the LRA attacked ten villages spanning a distance of 105 km in the Democratic Republic of Congo, killing more than 320 people in four days during what became known as the Makombo Massacre. The lack of communication systems, combined with the limited capacity of local security forces, meant that communities along this route received no advance warning that the LRA was approaching.

Our response

The Early Warning Network exists to disrupt these patterns of violence. It’s composed of high-frequency, two-way, long-range radios that give communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic (CAR) the ability to report LRA activity to one another. Invisible Children has partnered with local community organizations to utilize local expertise and expand the HF network in a sustainable way.

Statistics

66 HF radios in the Early Warning Network

85 communities protected by HF radios or satellite phones

300,000 + people directly benefitting from the Early Warning Network

After being vetted by data analysts, reports from the Early Warning Network are fed into the LRA Crisis Tracker, a public website that provides near-real-time information on current LRA activity. This system allows for more rapid and thorough confirmation of security incidents, giving humanitarians and communities the information necessary to prepare for and mitigate the effects of LRA activity.

Learn more

The need for an Early Warning Network was initially identified by a local organization in DRC called Commission Diocésaine pour Justice et Paix (CDJP). Its implementation was further recommended after Human Rights Watch, UN DDR/RR, and Invisible Children assessments in the region. Communities participating in the project do so voluntarily. They have been identified by their susceptibility to LRA attack and their lack of communication infrastructure necessary to report and receive security information.

Today, the Early Warning Network facilitates twice-daily security broadcasts between 66 HF radios and 29 satellite phones, protecting over 80 communities. Invisible Children is constantly expanding the Early Warning Network in order to improve the accuracy of reports and connect more communities to this life-saving mechanism.  Invisible Children is also refurbishing non-operational and abandoned HF radios in DR Congo. In CAR, satellite phones have been integrated into the Early Warning Network, allowing for more rapid expansion of the network and giving communities the ability to hide their communication equipment more easily in case of an LRA attack.

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